Dr. John Hunt, associate professor of biology, lectures before a full classroom at UAM, a common theme across campus.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello has set a new fall semester enrollment record for the 11th consecutive year according to preliminary census figures released today by the UAM registrar’s office. UAM enrolled 3,946 students at its three campuses in Monticello, Crossett and McGehee for the 2012 fall semester, breaking last year’s record of 3,920.

“This is wonderful news for the institution,” said UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “To continue to see enrollment increases at a time of declining high school enrollments in our traditional service area is a tribute to the hard work of our university family. Our continuing emphasis on admission, retention, advising, teaching, and total cost of attendance is having a positive impact on the number of students choosing to attend the University. The past decade has brought an unprecedented period of growth in our enrollment which has created new challenges in facilities, parking, student services, and number of faculty in certain disciplines.”

Since 2003, UAM’s enrollment has increased by 37 percent – from 2,875 to its current 3,946. Fall enrollment figures have grown steadily since 2003, increasing to 2,942 in 2004; 2,959 in 2005; and exceeding 3,000 for the first time in 2006 with an enrollment of 3,179. The growth has continued with an enrollment of 3,187 in 2007; 3,302 in 2008; 3,479 in 2009; 3,638 in 2010; and 3,920 in 2011.

“There are a number of factors contributing to our enrollment numbers,” said Lassiter, “but I believe one of the most important is the quality of our faculty and our focus on teaching.  Also as important is affordability of an education at UAM. We have tried very hard to keep the cost of attendance reasonable and within reach of our constituencies.  We have one of the lowest total costs of attendance of any four-year institution in the state and we plan to keep it that way. Our admissions staff has played an important part in our growth. Under the leadership of Mary Whiting they are known for the individual attention they give to prospective students.”

Whiting, dean of enrollment management and director of admissions, credited the work of the admissions staff in the recruitment of new students. “Our recruiters spend long hours on the road visiting high schools and talking to potential students,” said Whiting. “They are the ones who should receive the lion’s share of the credit.”