Incoming Class Largest Since 2015, Second-Largest in State

The 2,033 first-time freshmen enrolled at UCA this fall make up the largest incoming class since fall 2015 and put the university second only to the University of Arkansas in largest first-time undergraduate enrollment in Arkansas this year.

Provost and Executive Vice President Patricia Poulter said UCA has a dedicated team of people in the Admissions Office whose primary responsibilities involve recruitment and admission into the university. She said she is “grateful for their expertise and advocacy for UCA.”

“Although there was no tuition increase this past year, by virtue of more freshmen students being enrolled and paying tuition, the total amount generated by incoming students is higher than last year,” Poulter said.

She said tuition income is based on total enrollment and the total number of hours enrolled, and that the total amount of tuition won’t be known until the end of Spring 2019.

The influx of first-time freshmen also means UCA housing is currently at 101 percent occupancy.

“The majority of overflow is with freshman females,” said Stephanie H. McBrayer, director of housing and residence life. “We have had to put freshman females in temporary rooms, including converting some study rooms and assigning the RA staff roommates. As we process no shows and other space becomes available, we are moving these students to permanent spaces as soon as we possibly can.”

The Office of International Engagement conducts international recruitment efforts, and the Athletics Department follows very strict guidelines regarding how and when they recruit student-athletes, Poulter said.

UCA athletics representative Natalie Shock said 126 of the freshmen enrolled this fall are athletes. She said a factor considered when recruiting freshmen is the number of athletes on athletic aid who have retired from UCA athletics the previous year. This year, 90 freshmen were recruited with athletic aid and 36 were walk-ons.

Shock said this is a 26 percent increase from last year when 69 freshmen were recruited with athletic aid and 31 were walk-ons, and an almost 9 percent increase from 2015 when 76 freshmen were recruited with athletic aid and 39 were walk-ons.

Poulter said that geographically, UCA recruits throughout the state in Arkansas and at targeted areas of all surrounding states.

Poulter believes recruitment is something everyone at UCA engages in through departmental outreach programs, including schools, camps, conferences, competitions and conversations about student experiences at UCA, all of which help tell the university’s story.

“Everyone plays a role in recruitment, in ways we might not think about,” Poulter said. “How many times do you see our fantastic grounds and maintenance crews helping campus visitors find their way? This form of recruitment is as important as a high school physics day, outreach by the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre or a student going home and telling friends about what a great place UCA is to learn and grow.”

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