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|Enrollment slips at ULM|
Contrary to a prepared news release distributed by the University of Louisiana-Monroe, enrollment at ULM for the fall 2009 semester declined slightly over the previous year.
According to a news release issued Tuesday, enrollment at the university rose from 8,767 for the fall 2008 semester to 9,004 students for the fall 2009 semester. Also, ULM President James Cofer said enrollment grew by about 10 percent since the fall 2002 semester.
However, documentation provided by ULM to the state Board of Regents showed enrollment declined from 8,936 full-time equivalent students for the fall 2008 semester to 8,933 full-time equivalent students for the fall 2009 semester.
While Cofer said enrollment at ULM increased by roughly 10 percent over the past seven years, documentation ULM provided the state Board of Regents painted a different picture. That documentation said enrollment at ULM decreased some 5 percent from the fall 2002 semester to the fall 2009 semester.
Each semester, all Louisiana colleges and universities report enrollment figures 14 days after classes begin. In education circles, those enrollment figures are commonly called 14-day reports. Fourteen day reports are broken down several ways.
In addition to headcount, or the figures ULM reported earlier this week, the 14-day report also includes the number of credit hours students pursue at a given school.
Universities use student credit hour totals to determine full-time equivalent students. Those figures are used by the state in appropriating funds to individual colleges and universities.
The number of full-time equivalent students is determined by dividing the number of credit hours by 12 for undergraduates and by dividing by 9 for graduate students.
While ULM's 2009 14-day report showed an increase in headcount, both student credit hours pursued and full-time equivalent students declined over the previous year.
ULM reported an overall decline in student credit hours from 105,265 in 2008 to 105,163 for the fall 2009 semester.
That shows flat enrollment over the previous year.
Also, ULM's 14-day report showed students pursued some 111,101 credit hours in the fall of 2002. This fall, students are pursuing some 105,265 credit hours. That's a decline of more than 6,000 credit hours, or 5 percent.
Those figures contradict statements made by Cofer. He said enrollment rose 10 percent since 2002.
While student headcount has increased at ULM, the number of student credit hours pursued has declined.
In the prepared news release ULM distributed earlier this week, Cofer said student retention from freshman to sophomore levels was up almost 6 percent, a success he attributed to the hard work of the ULM faculty.
The number of incoming freshmen at ULM also increased almost 10 percent in 2009, according to Cofer.
"ULM's outstanding faculty are among the best in their fields," said Cofer. "Their continued focus on student achievement significantly impacts our recruitment and retention efforts."