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APSU leads state in enrollment gains

Austin Peay has claimed the No.1 spot among Tennessee colleges and universities in percentage of headcount increases for Fall 2002.

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said, “ Although all the other state colleges and universities' final fall enrollments have been reported previously in the media and on the Tennessee Board of Regents Web site, APSU's fall enrollment was preliminary and did not reflect the Fall II term at Fort Campbell.

“With these new numbers now in place, APSU—with an overall 6.3 percent increase—has the largest percentage increase in headcount enrollment among all state colleges and universities, with MTSU at No. 2 with a 5.43 percent increase.

"Our overall 5.4 percent increase in FTE was second in the state," Hoppe added, "just slightly behind MTSU with its 5.9 percent FTE increase.”

Fall II enrollment at the APSU Center @ Fort Campbell increased more than 20 percent over Fall II last year. This year's headcount stands at 1,522, up 20.7 percent over the 1,261 for Fall II 2001 headcount. FTE improved by 22.1 percent, standing at 591 full-time equivalency students during this term, compared to 484 at this time last year.

“This is amazing,” said Gerald Beavers, executive director of the APSU Center @ Fort Campbell. “I've been here more than six years, and I've never seen a double-digit increase.”

“The Army is paying 100 percent tuition now, and that's a great incentive for military people to take classes and obtain the college education needed for promotion in the Army—or to prepare for civilian life,” he said. “And it may be that, because soldiers are getting 100 percent tuition, family members can afford to take classes now.”

Beavers also noted APSU is offering more Web-based courses, all of which are heavily enrolled.

“The growth is indicative of the quality education program desired by a cross-section of students,” said Beavers. “The APSU Center@ Fort Campbell offers four bachelor's degrees and associate degrees in 13 concentrations. In other words, we offer courses across the spectrum, involving classes in the general education core, the liberal arts and many upper division courses.”

Beavers made special note that enrollment in the food service/culinary arts program, under the direction of Clifton Stanfill, has skyrocketed. “Food service/culinary arts averages about 50 students,” said Beavers. “It is almost three times that many this term.”

The APSU Center@ Fort Campbell's Fall I term was down about 2 percent from last year, so the significant jump in Fall II—even after duplicate enrollments are deleted—is welcomed.

With Fall II enrollment at Fort Campbell complete, APSU is preparing to report final overall fall enrollment to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission: The unduplicated headcount enrollment for the entire University increased 6.3 percent over Fall 2001, with 7,482 students enrolled this year, compared to 7,033 last fall.

APSU's FTE enrollment, which is used by THEC to compute state funding, jumped 5.4 percent over Fall 2001 enrollment, with 6,079 full-time equivalency students reported, compared to 5,769 FTE last fall.