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JONESBORO — All five of Arkansas State University's campuses saw enrollment decreases this fall, according to university officials who attribute the decline partly to a robust economy full of jobs for high school graduates.

The university system shows an overall enrollment decline of about 2.7 percent in students when comparing enrollment figures tallied last week to 2017 figures, the Jonesboro Sun reported. The 11th day counts were released Sept. 5 as mandated by the state Department of Higher Education.

Fewer than 22,800 students enrolled this year at the system's campuses in Jonesboro, Beebe, Mountain Home, Newport and West Memphis campuses. The headcount last year was nearly 23,400.

Lower enrollment numbers can be partly attributed to high school students delaying higher education and choosing to get jobs now, system spokesman Jeff Hankins said.

"It's good news that people coming out of high school are getting employed," said Bill Smith, spokesman at the Jonesboro campus. "There's always the opportunity to go back to college to get higher lifetime earnings."

All campuses except Jonesboro show slight decreases when comparing full-time equivalency rates, which are calculations showing how many students would be attending if they were all enrolled full-time. Jonesboro's full-time equivalency rate this year shows just more than 10,000 students would be enrolled full-time, an 11-student increase from the final rate last year.

Enrollment increases were reported this year at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. The University of Central Arkansas, Harding University's Conway campus and Southern Arkansas University all saw declining enrollments.

"This is a trend that's been going on for the last five years," Hankins said. "Jobs are plentiful."


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  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    September 12, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

    Maybe there will be some available room for people actually born in Arkansas.

  • condoleezza
    September 12, 2018 at 12:36 p.m.

    Henderson State University also showed an increase in enrollment. In fact, I think they set a school record for incoming Freshmen. So I am sure the ADG will correct that oversight.

  • Jfish
    September 12, 2018 at 3:53 p.m.

    So why exactly does the ASU President maintain a residence in Little Rock.

  • LRDawg
    September 12, 2018 at 5 p.m.

    Nobody wants to go to Jonesboro. Isn't there a hepatitis epidemic in that area? Nasty people

  • condoleezza
    September 12, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

    Jfish. Welch is a politician, first and foremost. Total con man. Anyone who has come across his slimy path knows that.

  • RBBrittain
    September 14, 2018 at 6:55 a.m.

    The ASU System office is in Little Rock in a state-owned building near the Capitol; President Welch works in LR, so it makes sense for him to live here. (He's actually being a bit more economical than his predecessor, who first moved the system office from Jonesboro to the River Market.) ASU-Jonesboro now has a chancellor running the campus proper, like all other ASU System campuses (as well as all UA System campuses, which is why that system's president now lives and works in LR on UA-owned property in the Heights).