Incoming class of first-time freshmen largest in five years
The number of first-time freshmen at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette continues to grow. A total of 2,885 freshmen are enrolled at UL Lafayette for the Fall 2022 semester.
That’s up from 2,693 last fall and marks a 7.1% increase “that can be attributed to the University’s longstanding reputation for nationally recognized academic and research programs and as a University that cares about it students,” noted Dr. DeWayne Bowie, vice president for Enrollment Management.
The incoming freshman class is the largest in five years, he added.
“Our intentional focus on fostering a campus environment that promotes student success – with an emphasis on affordability, smaller class sizes and opportunities for individualized instruction – has made us an appealing place to enroll,” Bowie explained.
He cited UL Lafayette’s designation as a Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education R1 University as “another reason students are choosing us.” The R1 designation puts UL Lafayette among the top 3% of the nation’s research universities.
Thirty-one percent of the Fall 2022 freshmen are STEM majors. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, disciplines that place a heavy focus on student research.
The incoming group is exceptional for other reasons as well. Thirty-two percent of Fall 2022 freshmen are first-generation students – those whose parents have not earned a college degree.
The class also stands out for academic achievement. It has an average high school cumulative GPA of 3.41. “We also continue to attract students who are at the top of their high school graduating class. This freshman class consists of 135 high school valedictorians, one of the largest number of valedictorians in school history,” Bowie said.
UL Lafayette released Fall 2022 enrollment data on Tuesday. The University’s degree-seeking enrollment is 15,219 students. That’s a decrease of 6.2%. Among Fall 2022 enrollment are 12,950 undergraduate students and 2,269 graduate students.
“While our overall retention rate remains high, consecutive smaller freshman classes partly due to COVID-19 in recent years have resulted in fewer continuing students,” Bowie explained. “Degree-seeking enrollment has also been affected by record-setting graduating classes in recent academic years.”
“So, we’re excited to have such a strong freshman class this semester, which will translate into an upward trend in terms of continuing students and overall enrollment,” he said.
Bowie also singled out the 3,645 non-credit-bearing students enrolled for the Fall 2022 semester – an increase of 667 students over last fall. Those students bring UL Lafayette’s overall enrollment to 18,864. Non-credit bearing students include those who take training courses, online classes, pursue certifications, and enroll in Professional and Continuing Education classes.
Louisiana’s public colleges and universities take a census of full- and part-time students on the 14th day of classes each fall semester, Bowie explained. The totals are reported to the Louisiana Board of Regents and, in the case of UL Lafayette, to the University of Louisiana System as well.
“Beyond enrollment totals, the census provides indicators as to who we are,” Bowie said.
The Fall 2022 census, for instance, shows that among degree-seeking students, 57% are female and 43% are male. Just over 40% are students from underrepresented backgrounds. Among them, 22% are Black students. In addition, students hail from 63 parishes in Louisiana; 48 states, U.S. possessions and the District of Columbia; and 81 international countries.
Photo caption: UL Lafayette’s Fall 2022 enrollment numbers were released on Tuesday. The number of first-time freshmen continues to grow. This fall’s class of 2,885 freshmen – the largest in five years – marks a 7.1% increase over last fall. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)