Numbers indicate more freshmen at UNA

by Student Writer John Ed Dearman

Reports indicated the number of freshmen enrolled at UNA is the highest it has been in recent years.

There are 1,170 freshmen enrolled this year. This time last year there were only 912 freshmen enrolled, according to reports from the office of admissions.

Temporary Admissions Coordinator Kim Mauldin said there are many reasons why the number of freshmen increased this year.

“This freshman class is a freshman of firsts,” she said. “What that means is that we have a new president, new science building and new residence halls.”

Mauldin said all three engage freshmen in some way because the president is going to teach a class and all freshmen are now required to live on campus. Most freshmen also take a science course, she said.

She also said the admissions department improved their recruiting techniques.

“We traveled more, and we covered a larger territory by going to schools in other states to talk about UNA,” she said.

Mauldin also said another key factor that contributed to the increase in freshmen was campus tours.

“One of the biggest pushes that we make when we’re out recruiting is emphasizing tours,” she said. “We can talk to students all day long, but you really need to come experience it.”

She said the number of students who visited campus this summer doubled the number who visited last summer, which only had about 450 people.

“Over 800 people came to visit this summer from 21 different states,” said Associate Director of Admissions Julie Taylor.

Taylor also said more people are visiting earlier, as sophomores and juniors in high school, which helps get the word out about UNA.

Mauldin said another reason for higher freshman enrollment is due to House Bill 424, which allows incoming out-of-state students who receive an institutional scholarship to pay in-state tuition.

The board of trustees adopted the bill during the summer 2014 meeting, she said. She said this helped pull in students from other states.

Taylor said another reason more freshmen came to UNA was a different scholarship structure.

“We used to start scholarships at a 25 ACT score and a 3.0 high school GPA,” she said. “We lowered it to a 20 ACT score and a 2.75 high school GPA.”

Taylor said more students were able to receive scholarships which may have led some students to come to UNA.

SOAR numbers were up as well. This year 1,089 incoming freshmen attended SOAR, compared to only 893 freshmen last year.

“I think these numbers say a lot about the opportunities available and the affordability of UNA,” said sophomore Jessica Rice.

Freshman Paige Lewey said she thinks the number of freshmen increased because UNA is a good school.

Freshman Daniel Wooten said he thinks UNA’s academics caused the freshman enrollment increase.

Mauldin said there are different reasons why the number of actual freshmen is higher than the number who attended SOAR.

“Many of them have been out of the country or working during the summer,” she said. “Several had mission trips, and some of them had military commitments.

“We had no extra funds or staff, but there is just some kind of new excitement. We were delivering the message in newer territories, but even we were excited about the message.”