Even though enrollment for Fall 2015 is down slightly at The University of New Mexico, a closer look at the numbers shows some encouraging trends. The number of students enrolled for this semester is 27,354, down just under two percent from last fall’s headcount of 27,880 students.
But another important figure, the number of credit hours that students are taking this semester, is down by only a quarter of a percent from last fall. Student at UNM have signed up for a total of 335,728 credit hours this semester, compared to 336,618, which is down only 0.26 percent from the previous fall semester.
“While we have slightly fewer students overall, the good news is those students are taking heavier course loads, which should put them on track to graduate sooner,” President Robert G. Frank said. “Increasing our graduation rates, reducing the overall cost of college by taking fewer semesters to graduate and getting our students out into the workforce sooner, are important goals for this administration and our regents. It also aligns with the governor’s higher ed initiatives.”
This fall, UNM hit record highs in its third semester retention, four-year and six-year graduation rates. Under Frank’s presidency the four-year graduation rate moved from 14 percent to nearly 20 percent and the six-year rates increased form 44 percent to just over 49 percent. About 80 percent of freshmen now return to UNM for their second year of college, a jump of five percentage points over the past three years and a new UNM record.
Another plus in this fall’s enrollment is the increase in the number of freshmen entering UNM. The 3,332 first-time Lobos is more than a six percent increase over last year’s class. The 2015 class is also one of the best-prepared groups coming in to the university. A third of the class, 470 students, scored above the 90th percentile of New Mexico ACT scores, 400 of them are enrolled in UNM’s Honors College, while 30 are new recipients of the prestigious Regents Scholarship, far more than the previous year.
“Our incoming freshman class is impressive, and our efforts to recruit the state’s best and brightest students are paying off,” Frank said. “A large portion of top students from around New Mexico are choosing to come to UNM.”