Enrollment at the University of New Mexico grew nearly six percent to 27,700 students at the Albuquerque campus as of Aug. 23, the first day of fall classes. Growth is particularly strong among national scholars, nonresidents, beginning freshmen and transfer students. Students taking online classes grew by a record 59 percent.

The numbers will continue to fluctuate as students change their schedules early in the semester. Official counts are reported after the third week of classes.

Enrollment by national scholars increased by 77 percent, from 71 to 126. National scholars include recipients of the National Merit Scholarship, National Achievement Scholarship, National Hispanic Recognition Scholarship and National American Indian Scholarship. National Hispanic Recognition Scholars nearly doubled, from 47 to 93.

A 79 percent increase in National Merit Scholars to a total of 25 makes UNM a sponsoring school. About 200 sponsoring colleges and universities are recognized in an annual scholarship guide for students. The listing lets high-achieving students know which schools attract and fund the most National Merit Scholars.

Students coming to UNM from outside New Mexico increased by 10.6 percent to 3,715. In addition to attracting competitive students worldwide, UNM offers an academic home to students in states where budget shortfalls have drastically narrowed college opportunities.

A record 3,580 beginning freshmen reflects a 5.4 percent increase over last year. New transfers from New Mexico are up 9.8 percent.

At branch campuses, enrollment increased as follows: Gallup is up 16.4 percent, Valencia 11.5 percent, Los Alamos 7.6 percent and Taos five percent.

The Division of Enrollment Management and partners university-wide continue implementing a slate of initiatives designed to lessen students' burden outside the classroom. Recent additions to help students stay on track toward a degree include the University Advisement and Enrichment Center and LOBO Trax, a visual, intuitive report on progress toward completing academic requirements.

Media contact: Sari Krosinsky (505) 277-1593; e-mail: michal@unm.edu