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ENMU enrollment hits another high

Staff report

Aggressive recruiting efforts, expanding athletic programs and the advent of online education are just a few reasons Eastern New Mexico University’s enrollment figures continue to rise, according to university President Steve Gamble.

The university announced on Saturday its fall enrollment is up for the 18th consecutive year.

The number of ENMU students enrolled this year is 5,887, up from 5,856 a year ago, and 68 percent more than the 3,495 students enrolled in the fall of 1997 when the streak began.

The university reports its numbers on the third Friday of the semester each year, Gamble said.

Spring and summer enrollment figures have also risen steadily, especially in the last decade, university records show.

More importantly, Gamble said, student credit hours are also up about 1 percent from 2013 and have been steadily growing since his arrival on campus in 2001. State funding is based on student credit hours.

“Probably the best thing we’ve got going for us at this university is the reputation of the school,” Gamble said. “Long before I got here, people have been thinking good things about Eastern New Mexico University. The university has educated a lot of mothers and fathers out there who want their kids to go to school here, too.”

Gamble said university officials have emphasized recruiting with direct mail programs, appearances at “college night” events and by sharing the university’s story with high school guidance counselors.

He also attributes the steady increases to “good, solid scholarships” and more student athletes — from 260 to 400 in the last decade.

The number of online classes offered by ENMU has gone up dramatically in the past seven or eight years, Gamble said, and tuition is “extremely low.”

“We are one of the few schools in the Southwest you can attend for less than $5,000 a year. We really play that up to our online students,” he said.

The fall 2014 enrollment includes 4,600 undergraduate and 1,287 graduate students a university news release said.

The numbers include 642 first-time freshmen and 456 transfer students.

The retention rate for first-time freshmen from the fall of 2013 to the fall of 2014 is 59 percent.

“We are happy with the slight increase in enrollment, and the quality of the students we are attracting,” Gamble said. “It bucks a statewide trend of declining enrollments.”

Fall enrollment numbers at Eastern New Mexico University.

2014: 5,887

2013: 5,856

2012: 5,814

2011: 5,574

2010: 5,080

2005: 4,052

2000: 3,581

1997: 3,495 (*)

1990: 3,696

1980: 3,701

1972: 4,342 (**)

1970: 4,275

1960: 1,598

1950: 902

1940: 768

1934: 229 (***)

* — First of 18 consecutive increases in fall enrollment

** — Record fall enrollment until 2009 when it hit 4,685

*** — First fall classes

Source: Eastern New Mesxico University

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