Fall Figures Show Better Prepared Students Enrolling in UL System Universities

Fall Figures Show Better Prepared Students Enrolling in UL System Universities – Sep 30, 2004

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2004
Contact: Catherine Heitman, 225-342-6950 or 219-0265

BATON ROUGE, La. – Preliminary enrollment figures released this fall indicate a jump in the quality of students in University of Louisiana System institutions.

While enrollment numbers increased at six of eight UL System schools and 1.4 percent system-wide, the ACT scores of entering freshmen in all institutions either rose or held steady (see attached chart). Of the eight UL System universities, seven attracted students with higher average ACT scores, an increase exceeding state and national average increases. The UL System’s average scores rose from 19.7 in 2003 to 20.2 in 2004, while the state moved from a score of 19.6 to 19.8 and the nation from 20.8 to 20.9.

“While there is a continued interest in getting more students into higher education, it is equally important to note that the quality of those students is escalating as well,” UL System President Sally Clausen said. “That’s good news for our institutions as they strive to increase retention and graduation rates. It also bodes well for their success in the face of higher entrance requirements our universities will implement next fall.”

In fall 2005 UL System universities must fully implement stricter admission standards as part of the Regents master plan for higher education. The plan calls for most public universities to require freshmen students to have completed the Regents’ core (college preparatory) curriculum in addition to achieving one of the following depending on the university: a minimum grade point average in high school, a minimum ACT composite score, or a minimum specific ranking in their graduating class.

“Our universities are making concerted efforts to recruit better-prepared students and to ensure they succeed through to graduation. Under more selective admissions, that’s how we will measure our success,” UL System Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Woods said.

UL System schools launched a retention and graduation rate initiative last month to boost graduation rates beyond the national average by the year 2012.

Some of the approaches universities are using include: reinstating mandatory class attendance, ensuring that every student has a faculty adviser and receives counsel at least four times a year, requiring freshmen to reside on campus, offering more flexible class schedules, tracking student performance more closely and responding before students get into academic trouble, maintaining a small student-to-faculty ratio, providing more on-campus jobs, and providing faculty with professional development to improve the effectiveness of advising.

The following table shows each UL System institution’s ACT figures compared to fall 2003:

 ACT Composite
 2003  2004  Percentage Point Change
 GSU  16.5  17.0 0.5
 LTU  21.8  22.5  0.7
 MSU  20.1  20.2  0.1
 NiSU  19.2  19.7  0.5
 NSU  19.1  19.1  0.0
 SLU  19.6  21.0  1.4
 ULL  20.9  21.0  0.1
 ULM  20.1  20.8  0.7

The eight UL System universities include Grambling State University, McNeese State University, Louisiana Tech University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, UL Lafayette and UL Monroe.