Southeast Missouri State University
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Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552



University expected to set new record enrollment by fourth week census

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 20, 2002 – Total enrollment at Southeast Missouri State University is up nearly five percent, according to a preliminary unofficial report compiled at the beginning of the first full day of the fall 2002 semester.

Classes at Southeast began Aug. 19.

Total combined undergraduate and graduate student headcount stands at 8,753, up 4.9 percent from 8,342 at this time a year ago.

When a final census report is issued in four weeks, Southeast Missouri State expects to have set a new record enrollment, exceeding last year’s all-time high of 9,352.

“It looks like we are going to be up in almost every category,” said Dr. Pauline Fox, vice president for administration and enrollment management.

Fox says total fall headcount last year increased by 1,010 from the first day of classes to the fourth week census. In fall 2000, Southeast gained 919 during that period. Southeast gained more than 700 students during that four-week period in both fall 1998 and fall 1999.

Fox said Southeast could have more than 9,700 students after the fourth week census, but that is dependent on the number of students who may have pre-enrolled.

She attributes Southeast’s growing enrollment to steady growth in the freshman classes over the last several years. Those numbers translate into growth in other classes, such as juniors and seniors in subsequent years, she said.

“We continue to get a slightly increasing share of high school graduates from the St. Louis area,” she added.

Freshmen currently account for 20.4 percent of undergraduate enrollment at Southeast.

Jim Settle, Southeast director of residence life, said 2,578 students are housed on campus this fall. That figure is up from 2,349 students who were living on campus last fall. Since that time, Southeast has opened a new residence hall on the east side of Henderson Street between Broadway and Normal that houses about 300 students.

Of those who are living in the residence halls this fall, 1,120 are new students, 1,324 are returning students, and 134 have transferred to Southeast, Settle said.

In addition to the increase in total headcount, total full-time equivalency is at 7,212, up five percent from fall 2001. This means the University has a significant increase in the number of credit hours students are taking.

Total undergraduate student headcount stands at 7,770, up 3.3 percent from fall 2001. Beginning freshman headcount is 1,588, down 1.2 percent from this time last year. Continuing freshman headcount is 844, up 5.6 percent from fall 2001. Sophomore headcount stands at 1,579, down .6 percent from fall 2002. Junior headcount is 1,603, up 9.8 percent from this time last year. Senior headcount is 1,878, up 5.3 percent from fall 2001.

Southeast currently has 489 transfer students enrolled, up about 45 from this time a year ago.

“Our transfer students are very important,” Fox said. “We continue to attract a large number of transfer students to the University.”

Total graduate student headcount stands at 983, up 19.4 percent from this time last year. Degree seeking master’s degree student headcount stands at 714, up 14.2 percent from fall 2001.

Non-degree seeking unclassified graduate student headcount is at 201, up 50 percent from this time a year ago. Specialists headcount is 63, up five percent from this time a year ago.

Dr. Phil Parette, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said since the first Southeast graduate offering in 1966, fall enrollment has grown from 119 in 1966 to 1,254 in 2001, which represents a 954 percent increase. During the past five years (1996-2001) there has been a 66 percent increase in annual graduate student enrollment.

“This year's increase in enrollment may be attributed to a variety of factors, including but not limited to an economic downturn of the economy that typically results in greater numbers of students enrolling in graduate education,” Parette said. “This trend is evident nationally as well,” he said.

He said growth in the Graduate School also can be attributed to increased accessibility to Southeast graduate programs via an increased web presence, on-line course offerings, higher education centers and off-campus programs. He said the quality of Southeast’s graduate programs, including competent, caring faculty, is another contributing factor. One of the principal forces driving the increase in master’s programs nationally is the swift increase in the number of women participating in graduate education, Parette added. At Southeast, females constitute 80 percent of the total annual graduate enrollment.

A final fall semester census report will be compiled in four weeks.


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