LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming has enrolled the largest freshman class in its history, with 1,859 first-time students this fall semester.
That is a 9.5 percent increase from fall 2017, when the enrollment of 1,696 new freshmen represented a 9.3 percent increase from 2016.
“Two straight years of nearly double-digit growth in freshman recruitment show that the University of Wyoming is no longer one of the nation’s best-kept secrets in the world of higher education,” says Kyle Moore, UW’s associate vice provost for enrollment management.
“Very few institutions across the country are seeing increases of this magnitude, and we are delighted that so many students from Wyoming and beyond have chosen to become Cowboys.”
According to census data collected on the 15th day of classes, UW’s overall enrollment also increased for the second straight year.
Some 12,450 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the university, compared to 12,397 last fall. The 15th class day is used because it falls after the class drop/add deadlines, and after the first tuition and fee payment is due.
A decline in the number of graduate students kept the university’s overall enrollment from rising more significantly.
Out-of-State Numbers Up
The first-time freshman enrollment this semester shatters the previous record of 1,697 set in 2008. The increase was driven by enrollment of students from outside Wyoming, as 944 nonresidents are enrolled, up from 771 last fall, a 22.4 percent increase.
The largest increases in out-of-state enrollment come from Colorado, California, Illinois and Nebraska.
The number of first-time freshmen from within Wyoming dropped slightly, from 925 last fall to 915 this year, but that’s largely because the number of Wyoming high school graduates decreased.
The percentage of Wyoming high school graduates choosing to attend the state’s university actually increased from 15 percent last year to 18 percent this year.
The number of new transfer students, which jumped 12.3 percent last fall, is down slightly this year — from 1,086 to 1,075. But transfers from Wyoming community colleges are up, from 771 last fall to 784 this semester.
“Our enrollment strategy continues to focus on students from both inside and outside the state — whether they come here straight from high school, from our outstanding community college partners or from the workforce,” Moore says.
“This is a broad-based, collaborative effort built on a foundation of commitment to each student’s success.”
UW’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022,” calls for the university’s overall enrollment to reach 13,500 by 2022.
In addition to the increase in freshman enrollment, the numbers of sophomores (1,849 this fall, 1,740 in 2017) and juniors (2,234 this fall, 2,184 in 2017) are up this year as well.
Senior Class Remains Flat
The senior class is essentially flat (3,300 this fall, 3,303 in 2017), in part, because the university continues to see large graduating classes. Nearly 3,000 students received degrees from UW in the past academic year, and the last three years have seen the largest numbers of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the university’s history.
This reflects the university’s efforts to improve student retention and completion.
The number of graduate students dropped from 2,606 last fall to 2,452 this year.
The total number of student credit hours increased by 1.4 percent to 153,684 this fall, a possible indication of continued movement in UW’s efforts to encourage progress toward degree completion.
Here are some other highlights from the fall 2018 enrollment report:
— Fall-to-fall retention of first-time students is essentially even from last year, with 78 percent of UW’s first-time freshmen in the fall 2017 semester returning to the university this fall.
— The average ACT score for new freshmen is 24.8, up from 24.7 last year.
— The headcount at the Laramie campus is 10,540 this fall, up from 10,396 last year.
— Enrollment at UW-Casper is up to 193 this fall from 164 last year.
— Wyoming residents make up 66.6 percent of the UW student body, nonresidents 33.4 percent.
— Minority students make up 13 percent of UW’s student population, up from 12.9 percent last year.
— Women make up 51.14 percent of the student population, men 48.86 percent.