Students on mall
Spring 2016 enrollment at UNM is 25,299 students.

Spring enrollment at UNM is down slightly as anticipated, with a hint of promising news to come. Initial enrollment numbers for the spring semester show a total of 25,299 students.

During the February Board of Regents meeting, President Robert Frank reported that figure is down slightly from the prior year spring semester but right in line with projections based on fall enrollment.

On a bright note, a record number of freshmen, more than 3,000, returned for their second semester, fueling an increase in retention for the third straight year. More than 91 percent of these first time students are continuing into the spring semester on their way to completing their first year of college. Frank emphasized that retention rate is a positive sign for future enrollment projections.

“The growth in the number of freshmen and our improved student success initiatives are providing a solid foundation that should lead to more stable enrollment, as more students stay in school and move toward graduation,” Frank said.

“Not only are we increasing our freshmen enrollment, but we are also increasing the quality of these students, with more them coming in better prepared for college work and thus more likely to stay in school,” said Terry Babbitt, associate vice president for Enrollment Management.

UNM enrollment continues to adjust to a modest economic recovery in New Mexico. Severe recession contributed to large enrollment growth at the university from 2009 to 2012.  As the economy and job outlook improve, many students who entered higher education when job prospects were limited, also leave college and go back into the workforce when opportunities return.

The strategy of encouraging more students to take more credit hours and carry larger class loads has paid dividends for the long term. Full-time enrollment has been consistent throughout this changing environment.