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APSU spring enrollment shows major increase; retention efforts cited

Enrollment at Austin Peay State University continues to climb, as indicated by Spring 2006 Semester data, reported last week to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission following the 14th day of classes on main campus.

Total head count on the main campus increased 8.7 percent over Spring 2005, with 6,843 students enrolled this spring compared to 6,293 in Spring 2005.

Full-time equivalency (FTE) enrollment increased 8.3 percent5,796 FTE this spring compared to 5,351 last year. State funding is based on FTE enrollment.
Enrollment at Austin Peay State University continues to climb, as indicated by Spring 2006 Semester data, reported last week to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission following the 14th day of classes on main campus.

Total head count on the main campus increased 8.7 percent over Spring 2005, with 6,843 students enrolled this spring compared to 6,293 in Spring 2005.

Full-time equivalency (FTE) enrollment increased 8.3 percent5,796 FTE this spring compared to 5,351 last year. State funding is based on FTE enrollment.

In large part, Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, attributed the 8.7 percent increase on main campus to various retention initiatives under the leadership of Dr. Harriett McQueen, dean of enrollment management and academic support.

McQueen says she can only speculate on why APSU is seeing stronger retention of students. She notes that faculty and staff are focusing more and more on student success and the need to “meet students where they are” when they enter the University.

“Certainly we are providing more student support services. The faculty members who teach APSU 1000 connect with students and provide an avenue to information that students previously did not have.

“Students can ask questions in what they perceive as a non-threatening environment. We find quite often that their questions are regarding something University-related that we assumed ‘everybody knows.'”

Retention efforts are reflected in a 14.8 percent increase in sophomores, an 11.9 increase in juniors and an 11.3 percent increase in seniors compared with Spring 2005.

Graduate enrollment is up 8.7 percent over Spring 2005perhaps because APSU is offering more master's degree programs at night, on weekends and online.

Included in APSU's total spring enrollment data is Spring I Term at the Austin Peay Center @Fort Campbell. With main campus and Fort Campbell Spring I combined, overall head count increased 5.7 percentfrom 7,615 in Spring 2005 to 8,054 this spring. Overall FTE increased 6.5 percent, up from 5,896 last spring to 6,281 this spring.

Gerald Beavers, executive director of the Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell, notes that it is a challenge to grow enrollment at Fort Campbell, given the deployment of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)an exodus of more than 20,000 soldiers.

“That we did not experience a serious decrease this term is due to our intense efforts to serve our deployed troops with distance-education courses,” Beavers said. “We've also seen a steady increase in civilian enrollments.

“And our rather unique degree programs, Professional Studies and Criminal Justice/Homeland Security, are drawing students from feeder community colleges, aided by our various two-plus-two articulation agreements.”

Beavers points to booming enrollment in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security.

“We currently have 273 enrollments in that program. Adding the Homeland Security concentration has contributed greatly to our increased enrollment.”

For more information on admission to APSU, telephone (931) 221-7661. — Dennie B. Burke