SFA sees a drop enrollment due to increased admission standards

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Spring enrollment at Stephen F. Austin State University dropped just over one and half percent compared to this time last year. Administrators expected it to happen.

It's the price a university pays when admission standards are increased.

SFA students learn to analyze, but not all of them have the skills of Karyn Hall, director of institutional research. She has the numbers on where SFA's been and where it's heading. Spring enrollment numbers reflect a decrease after an increase in admission standards. It came as no surprise to Hall.

"Obviously we always want to have an increase in enrollment, but with the situation with our admission standards changing, with those kinds of issues we've done to increase our student success we know there's that option that they may not be up," Hall said.

Hall knows enrollment is affected by many factors, but she believes SFA's numbers will be up in two year or sooner based on the efforts in place to attract students.

Student Services specific to the College of Business is what the interim dean attributes in part to a 5.5-percent increase in the college's enrollment.

"We've been able to do that by adding some academic advisors and expanding our office," said Dr. Geralyn McClure Franklin, the interim dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

McClure Franklin's percentage growth is not reflected in current data due to computer science moving to the College of Sciences and Mathematics. What is shared is a recent internationally recognized, specialized accreditation.

"That basically puts us up with the top business schools in the world and not just the united states," McClure Franklin said.

Worthy accreditations, academic assistance, and even increased standards may, in the long run, influence students to stick with SFA.

"That helps us," said Ashley McDowell, an SFA marketing student. "It lets us know we're getting the professional skills and knowledge that we need to be successful in the future."

In October, SFA Regents tabled a vote to increase the university's admission standards a second time. SFA President Dr. Baker Patillo said the decision has nothing to do with the drop in enrollment, but rather needing more time to study House Bill 5. That's new legislation impacting high school graduation requirements.

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