University announces fall enrollment
Lamar University officials are pleased with a Fall headcount of 14,054 students. While slightly lower compared to 2012, the headcount remains higher than it was two years ago. University officials credit the slight drop to stronger admissions requirements and are calling the entering class the best in the university’s history.
“We imposed much higher freshman admissions requirements recognizing that we would lose numbers,” said Kevin Smith, senior associate provost. “That said, Lamar enrolled its finest freshman class ever.
“Compared to previous years, our freshman test score averages jumped to record highs. Our percentages of freshman from the top 10 percent and top quarter of their graduating high school classes rose significantly,” Smith said.
The freshman class includes 22 high school valedictorians, Smith said. Almost 40 percent of all incoming freshman ranked in the top 25 percent of their high school class.
The 1.6 percent decline in new freshmen enrolled, down 308 from last fall, was partially offset by growth in master’s students, up 2.7 percent, and doctoral students, up 7.25 percent. These increases were, in part, the result of new online M.Ed. programs and growth in the College of Engineering.
The 134,509 semester credit hours are 4 percent fewer than the 140,212 last fall, however the figure remains 2 percent higher than the semester credit hours in Fall 2011.
Among the university’s colleges, the greatest gains were seen in engineering which saw an increase of 15.5 percent in headcount, growth attributed in large part to strong scholarship support.
The university awarded a record number of prestigious Mirabeau Scholarships and 97 new scholars joined the 45 continuing Mirabeau Scholars this fall. In addition, hundreds of students entered on Engineering Excellence and other academic scholarships.
“More than 200 top students have joined those already in Lamar’s growing honors program, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this fall,” Smith said.
Although admissions requirements have been significantly enhanced, officials reiterated the important legacy at Lamar of providing higher education for Southeast Texans.
“As we move the bar up, we will continue to reach out to serving Southeast Texas and making this an institution that can change lives. It has to be,” LU President Kenneth Evans said in the university’s opening convocation. Lamar will continue to find a way to help that first-generation-in-college student be successful, he said. “We need to continue to do that for every student that is interested and hungry to seek a university education.”