LARAMIE, Wyoming — The University of Wyoming now has 13,440 students enrolled this fall semester and the number is expected to increase as outreach students continue to sign up.
Sara Axelson, vice president of Student Affairs, said she expects to break 13,500 by the end of the semester.
The most important number is the total number of incoming freshmen, Axelson said.
"We were so excited to have 1,695 freshmen," she said. "You don't have 7.8 percent increases often, but to grow by 122 students in the freshman class — that's a great story, and as our retention continues to grow, that's very encouraging."
Of the 2014 incoming freshmen, 76.3 percent returned for a second year, and increase of about 1 percent from the prior year, Axelson said.
The engineering initiative, meant to bring UW's engineering departments to the top in the nation, is showing prospective students are taking note.
"Engineering and applied sciences is doing some excellent work to help attract students," Axelson said. "We have 141 more students in the College of Engineering, and that will help with their future enrollment growth."
Diversity at UW is also growing with 1,495 students, or 11.6 percent of the student population, identified as an ethnic or racial minority, not including international students.
"Certainly, we want to move to attract more minority students on our campus and be a more diverse campus," Axelson told the Laramie Boomerang (http://bit.ly/1NVebfs).
But not all admissions are rising, Trustee Mike Massie pointed out.
"We're seeing a three-year trend in the drop of outreach students, a three-year trend in the drop of transfer students," he said. "We're also seeing a drop in the number of diplomas we're issuing."
New transfer students decreased by 134 from a year ago, dropping to 930. However, transfer losses were expected, Axelson said.
"Our community college colleagues are seeing lower enrollment numbers," she said. "We're also pushing (transfer students) to complete their associate's degree before coming to UW, so they are staying in community college longer."
Axelson attributes lower total numbers of outreach students to a revised financial program.
"When we started the online program, students paid resident tuition to attract people to the program," she said. "Now, we are rolling out a system so outreach students pay nonresident rate."
However, the number of outreach students continues to climb, Axelson said, mostly because of online courses.
"The total number of students is ever-evolving, especially with outreach students," she said.
Information from: Laramie Boomerang, http://www.laramieboomerang.com