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Final numbers show 2 percent enrollment growth for fall

10/29/2001
October 29, 2001

Austin Peay State University officials held their collective breath regarding enrollment at the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell as the future of the soldiers based at Fort Campbell shifted radically following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States and the subsequent war in Afghanistan.

Despite the expected decline in Fall II enrollment, data to be submitted to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for Fall 2001 reveals an overall increase of 1.78 percent in full-time equivalency (FTE) students--the number on which state funding is based.

Dr. Houston Davis, assistant vice president for academic affairs, gives much credit to the Admissions Office staff, who primarily recruit high school students.

"The large increase we saw in first-time freshmen on the main campus gave us the shot-in-the-arm needed to overcome declines elsewhere," Davis said. "If we keep growing main-campus enrollment, we will protect our numbers from future fluctuations at Fort Campbell."

Main-campus headcount enrollment is 5,548 this fall, compared to 5,416 in Fall 2000. FTE for main campus increased from 4,738 last fall to 4,857 this year.

Fall Term I enrollment at the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell was strong--up 3.7 percent in FTE.

However, hopes for a continued upward trend in enrollment for Fort Campbell Fall II plummeted after the terrorists' attacks of Sept. 11. FTE fell 7.28 percent from Fall II last year when APSU FTE enrollment was 522. This year's Fall II FTE is 484.

Davis said, "We were fortunate to have solid increases in FTE for the main campus and for Fall I at Fort Campbell this fall. Those increases gave us a little buffer for our overall FTE numbers when we saw that Fall II might be down."

According to Gerald Beavers, executive director of the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell, this fall's enrollment at the APSU Center @ Fort Campbell got a boost due to the excellent response to APSU's new bachelor of professional studies degree, which currently is offered through the APSU Center@ Fort Campbell.

Also, Davis suggested that enrollment at Fort Campbell was not hit as hard as initially expected because of the refund policy put in place at the federal level: All military personnel that deploy during this semester will receive a full refund of fees and tuition. "This provided a safety net for anyone who wanted to sign up for a class," Davis said. "It probably softened the blow to Fort Campbell enrollment more than anything else."

Dr. Sherry Hoppe, APSU president, said, "I want to thank everyone who contributed to our enrollment increase. The University has faced down many challenges recently-from endless budget woes to the uncertainty of Fall II at Fort Campbell.

"Despite each roadblock, our faculty and staff refused to give up. Their willingness to adapt to the changes, along with their perseverance and dedication, made the difference."