Freshman numbers increase, overall enrollment rises


For the third year in a row, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has seen an increase in the number of first-time freshmen. 
A total of 3,066 first-time freshmen are enrolled for the Fall 2023 semester, a 6.3% increase over last fall. 
“We continue to be the university of choice for first-time students who recognize the extraordinary opportunities that await them here,” said Dr. DeWayne Bowie, UL Lafayette’s vice president for Enrollment Management. “Students want exceptional academics, a welcoming and fun campus environment and top-tier research experiences – all of which we offer.” 
Bowie added: “We’re here to ensure that students succeed by emphasizing affordability, smaller class sizes and opportunities for one-on-one instruction from faculty members who are leaders in their disciplines. These factors have made us a place where students are eager to enroll.”
The Fall 2023 incoming freshman class is the second largest since the University instituted selective admissions in 2005.   
Nearly 31% are STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – majors; 19% are enrolled in humanities disciplines; 15% in nursing and health sciences; 14% in business; 12% in education; and 9% in the arts. 
Thirty-two percent of Fall 2023 freshmen are first-generation students – those whose parents have not earned a college degree.
The incoming group is exceptional for other reasons as well. Its members admitted using ACT scores have an average high school cumulative GPA of 3.5 and an average ACT composite score of 24.8; 102 students were high school valedictorians; and 125 entering freshmen have an ACT composite score of 32 or higher.  
“This freshman class stands out for academic achievement,” Bowie said. “Students are coming to us well prepared to pursue their academic degrees and, beyond that, their professional aspirations.” 
UL Lafayette released Fall 2023 enrollment data on Thursday. Its overall enrollment is 19,056 – a 1% increase over last fall. 
Of that total, 15,345 students – 13,179 undergraduate students and 2,166 graduate students – are degree-seeking. 
An additional 3,711 non-credit-bearing students are enrolled. Non-credit bearing students include those who take training courses, 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. 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 a snapshot of who we are as a University community,” Bowie said. 
The Fall 2023 census, for instance, shows that among degree-seeking students, 58% are female. Thirty-six percent are students from underrepresented backgrounds. Among them, 24% are Black students. In addition, students hail from 63 parishes in Louisiana; 46 states, U.S. possessions and the District of Columbia; and 83 international countries. 
Photo caption: Incoming freshmen gather at Cajun Field in August following New Student Convocation. UL Lafayette enrolled a total of 3,066 first-time freshmen for the Fall 2023 semester, a 6.3% increase over last fall. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)