BATON ROUGE – At a time when some four-year universities are experiencing a decrease in overall enrollment, LSU has been able to hold steady, according to the LSU Office of Budget and Planning’s 2009 enrollment report. LSU’s 2009 enrollment has gone down by about 1 percent, or 202 students, since last year: from 28,194 in 2008 to 27,992 in 2009.
The enrollment report shows that a slightly smaller incoming freshman class was nearly offset by an increase in graduate student enrollment, helping to maintain the overall number of students near last year’s figure. Increasing graduate school enrollment has been a goal of the university, and it is one of the main objectives of the Flagship Agenda.
“Despite the recent budget cuts and the state of the economy, we are pleased to see our enrollment numbers maintained,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “It is a testament to the hard work put in by our recruiters and the reputation our faculty, staff and students have earned for LSU that we are able to hold steady at this level of students. We also will continue to work hard to retain those students we recruit and to ensure that they successfully complete their degrees at LSU.”
Graduate enrollment increased to 4,614 in 2009 from 4,428 in 2008, representing a 4 percent increase. LSU’s largest graduate programs are those in arts & sciences, at 760 students (an increase of 2 percent from 2008), and business administration, at 659 students (an increase of 4 percent from 2008). The graduate programs that saw the highest jump in new student enrollment from 2008 to 2009 are veterinary medicine, a 19 percent increase; mass communication, an 18 percent increase; and engineering, a 10 percent increase. Other programs that saw an enrollment increase of 5 percent or more are agriculture, a 6 percent increase from 2008; coast & environment, a 6 percent increase from 2008; and education, a 5 percent increase from 2008.
“With the Flagship Agenda calling for an increase in the number and quality of graduate students and programs, the university has been an attractive place for students looking to further their education,” Martin said.
David Constant, interim dean of the LSU Graduate School and Humphreys T. Turner Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, said that he expects to see continued growth in LSU’s graduate programs.
“The Graduate School staff members, in concert with colleges, student organizations and external groups, are working hard to engage prospective students and retain our current students,” Constant said. “Growth of and diversity in our graduate programs and the development of related research activity are key components of a flagship institution.”
The 2009 freshman class size is 4,523, which is down from 4,827 in 2008. The difference is only 304 students, and total undergraduate enrollment is only down 2 percent from a year ago.
“We are pleased with the entering freshman class this year, and we are realizing our efforts of improving upon the quality of our student body,” said Mary Parker, executive director of undergraduate admissions and student aid at LSU. “Our recruiting efforts have been not only focused on the size of the class, but maintaining the caliber of students that will succeed here at LSU.”