Fourteen years and counting.
That is the unprecedented streak of consecutive record enrollments at Arkansas Tech University after the institution announced on Friday that its fall 2012 enrollment is 10,972 students.
Enrollment at Arkansas Tech has increased by 4.9 percent over the past 12 months. Arkansas Tech has 8,939 students on its main campus in Russellville and 2,033 students on its Ozark campus.
Fall 2012 enrollment figures became official at the end of Thursday, which was the 11th class day of the semester.
Enrollment at Arkansas Tech has grown by 159 percent since 1997. A then school-record 4,840 students enrolled at the university in fall 1999.
Enrollment has increased ever since. Arkansas Tech went over 6,000 students for the first time in 2003 and the milestones have continued. Tech surpassed 7,000 students in 2006; 8,000 students in 2009; 9,000 students in 2010; and 10,000 students in 2011.
“There is no question that increasing the percentage of our adult population that holds a college degree is the key to economic development in Arkansas,” said Dr. Robert C. Brown, who is beginning his 20th year as Arkansas Tech president. “At Arkansas Tech University, that is a realization that we made long ago and we have worked ever since to meet that objective. Our enrollment growth is an indication that our constituents find value and quality in return for their educational dollar at Arkansas Tech. The more telling fact is that our increases in degree production have outpaced our increases in enrollment growth. That is a testament to the academic ability of the students choosing Arkansas Tech and to the outstanding work by my faculty colleagues.”
Arkansas Tech awarded more than 2,000 degrees for the first time in school history during the 2011-12 academic year. Annual degree production at Arkansas Tech has increased by 151 percent since the year 2000, while enrollment has grown by 112 percent over that same time frame.
With a graduation rate of 42.7 percent, Arkansas Tech ranks No. 2 among all four-year public colleges and universities in Arkansas.
Arkansas Tech has achieved that track record while maintaining the most affordable tuition and fees structure among the five largest public universities in the state and while ranking last among all Arkansas four-year universities in state funding distribution per full-time equivalent student.
“In a world where efficiency is increasingly important, Arkansas Tech continues to do more with less,” said Brown.
And the “more” extends beyond the number of students enrolled and the number of graduates.
Arkansas Tech was the first university in the state to fully implement Act 747 of 2011, a state law that requires the reduction of applicable baccalaureate degree programs to a maximum of 120 credit hours.
Arkansas Tech continues to add to its list of accredited programs, including many in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields thought to be critical to growing the state’s economy.
Within the past 12 months, Arkansas Tech received reaffirmation of accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In a statement of affiliation status for Arkansas Tech, The Higher Learning Commission noted that no further reports are required and that no other campus visits concerning accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools are scheduled before the next comprehensive evaluation in 2020-2021.
“This is the cleanest bill of health that The Higher Learning Commission can give to a university,” said Brown. “To receive a report of this nature with no conditions and no interim reports is virtually unheard of.”
Included in the fall 2012 student body at Arkansas Tech in Russellville are 1,501 first-time freshmen. The Arkansas Tech Class of 2016 completed high school with a cumulative grade point average of 3.23 and an average ACT score of 22.
This marks the 18th consecutive year in which the Arkansas Tech freshman class has beaten the national average on the ACT exam.
For more information about Arkansas Tech University, visit http://www.atu.edu/.