The University of Wyoming reversed a two-year decline in its number of students, increasing enrollment across the board for the fall semester.
The official tally — released following the 15th school day of the fall semester, known as census day — puts overall enrollment at 12,397, an increase of 0.3 percent from the fall 2016 census.
Kyle Moore, associate vice provost of enrollment management, said he credits the increase to the emphasis placed on recruitment by university administration and others throughout the UW community.
“Anytime you have a collective group of stakeholders across campus and the involvement of faculty in the recruitment process, that’s hugely impactful,” Moore said. “And it demonstrates and illustrates that the University of Wyoming is committed to individual student success.”
While UW administrators originally predicted freshman enrollment would set an all-time record, the final tally puts the number of freshmen at 1,696, which Moore said was one student short of setting a record.
Given the low freshman enrollment of previous years, 1,696 freshmen represent a marked increase.
“That’s an increase of 145 students overall more than we had last year,” Moore said. “So, that’s a 9.3 percent increase in freshman students.”
Transfer student enrollment increased 12.3 percent from last year, and now sits at 1,086, which is also the highest transfer enrollment in at least five years.
UW increased both in-state and out-of-state enrollment in both freshman and transfer student categories. And the increase of minority students, at 2.2 percent, outpaced the increase in overall enrollment.
“1,602 students indicated they were from a minority background this year as opposed to 1,567 last year,” Moore said. “That’s 35 more students who indicated they are of minority background over last year. And our overall headcount was only up 31.”
The large boosts in freshman and transfer enrollments helped offset the record number of students who graduated following the spring 2017 semester.
This mass graduation is one reason freshman and transfer enrollment increases are so much more than the overall increase of students.
Moore said much of the credit for the influx of students goes to the administration — specifically President Laurie Nichols and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller — for setting the tone, committing to new student recruitment and personally engaging in outreach efforts. Additionally, scholarships and financial aid were awarded earlier for the fall 2017 semester than they have in years past.
Credit should also go to alumni — many of whom wrote to prospective students in their own hometowns, suggesting UW — and faculty, who were often active in the recruitment process, Moore said.
“I think that probably one of the most significant impacts comes from the involvement of faculty in the recruitment process,” he said.
“Faculty members made phone calls, sent emails and contacted prospective students to share their view of how (those) prospective students could partner with University of Wyoming faculty.”
Graduate enrollment also increased 1.1 percent, from 2,578 to 2,606. Total enrollment for UW’s main Laramie campus also rose, from 10,341 to 10,396.
Moore added the average ACT score for incoming freshmen was also higher.
“We had a slight increase in our overall academic profile in terms of the ACT scores,” he said. “ACT score average increased from 24.4 last year to 24.7 this year, which was a good thing to see.”