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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Enrollment reaches all-time high of more than 40,000 students

Kedi Xia

Kedi Xia / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The top chart shows total enrollment and the enrollment of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as percentages of various demographics. The bottom graph illustrates the retention rates of students across the five ethnic groups.

Enrollment at the UA has grown to a historical high of more than 40,000 students, a reflection of the growth in the school’s acceptance rate. Retention rates among a number of ethnic minorities and overall graduation rates also saw an increase from 2011.

A variety of factors led to the increase from 39,236 in 2011, including an increase in freshmen and transfer students admitted, as well as higher retention rates, Student Affairs Vice President Melissa Vito said in an email.

This year, the UA admitted 77 percent of applicants, an increase of two percentage points from both the 2010 and 2011 school years.

Of last year’s freshmen, 80.2 percent returned for their sophomore year, said Jeff Orgera, assistant vice president of Student Affairs. This is an increase of 3 percentage points compared to last year’s rate of 77.2 percent.

Among minority groups, there were increases in retention across the board. Black students saw the highest increase in retention with 9.7 percentage points.

In order to boost retention recruiters look for students who have enthusiasm for the university and truly want to attend, according to Kasey Urquidez, associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of undergraduate admissions.

“We don’t want to recruit a student just to get them to be in that freshman class,” Urquidez said. “We want to recruit a student who will really be with us until they graduate and become that alum of the university.”

Some members of the administration attribute the overall increases to a campus-wide effort to help students navigate the system and stay at the university.

“It really is a very large team effort with people from across Student Affairs and Academic Affairs,” Orgera said. “We’re just really focused on creating a real great experience for our undergraduates.”

University officials say the UA is on track to reach an 86-percent freshman retention rate by 2020, a goal set by the Arizona Board of Regents.

“The fact that we’re moving in the right direction is a really good sign that we’re going to be able to have some success in attaining that goal,” Orgera said.

The four-year and six-year graduation rates also saw increases from 2010 to 2011. The four-year rate rose from 36.3 percent to 39.3 percent, while the six-year rate rose from 59.8 percent to 61.4 percent.

“I am thrilled at this growth and especially the increase in retention and graduation,” Vito said in an email. “Among our most critical measures of success is the ability of our students to be retained and graduate — this data tells us we are moving in the right direction and that we must continue and strengthen our efforts.”

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