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This year, Arizona State University has boosted first-year retention to 83 percent. This achievement is a result of increased student support programs and eAdvisor, an online advising program that helps students find the right major, and ensures courses are available when needed.
ASU's freshman retention rate hovered at 68 percent to 69 percent in the mid-1990s. It climbed to 75 percent to 76 percent in the mid-2000s, reaching 81 percent last year.
Preliminary 21st day fall semester 2010 enrollment figures indicate ASU has reached a record 70,440 total of undergraduate and graduate students. This tops last year's 68,064 fall enrollment at 21st day by nearly 2,400 students.
Out-of-state and international undergraduate students at ASU also hit record levels – more than 13,300 total, with nearly 3,300 new freshmen and 1,500 new transfer students – as students from across the nation and other countries were attracted to ASU’s programs and campuses.
Among the 14 colleges and schools at ASU, the highest percentage increases in enrollment are in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and the Colleges of Nursing and Health Innovation, Technology and Innovation, and the natural sciences in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The increase in science and engineering majors is particularly important to help boost economic development in Phoenix and Arizona.
Reflecting the breadth of ASU's class offerings and programs at all four campuses, more than 5,000 students are enrolled in classes at more than one campus, fulfilling the vision of ASU as being one university in many places. Campus enrollment figures total more than the overall unduplicated count of 70,440, as ASU students take advantage of the courses that are offered by departments throughout the university, not just at the campus that is the academic home of the student. Thus, the Tempe campus now enrolls 58,371 students; Downtown Phoenix boasts 13,567 students; Polytechnic has 9,752 students; and West enrolls 11,813 students.
"I like the variety of classes I can take," said Jonathan Gerlings, a sophomore in mechanical engineering technology who takes his engineering classes at the Polytechnic campus in Mesa and is enrolled in art history at the Tempe campus. "It's great for me, because I can ride my bike to class in Tempe two days a week, and drive to Polytechnic the other three days."
Ana Mendoza, a psychology senior who lives in Peoria, takes one class at the Downtown Phoenix campus and the rest of her classes in Tempe. She says that light rail makes her commute a breeze.
"With light rail, it's very easy to commute back and forth," she said. "I park my car at the light rail station in the West Valley every day. I'm able to take a required class for my social work minor downtown, and my psychology classes in Tempe."
ASU's Mary Lou Fulton Teacher's College, headquartered at the West campus, has expanded its scope and now offers classes on all four campuses, as well as 25 sites throughout Arizona.
Students have access to a wider variety of classes and a broader range of faculty expertise than ever before.
"Professors travel to different sites to teach their courses, so we have expertise available to our students no matter which campus they are on," said Mari Koerner, dean of the college. "This means access for our students. It also means that when there are specialized classes, any student from any campus can enroll for that class."
ASU's four campuses all boasted notable increases in the number of first-time freshmen and transfer students. Median SAT score for the entering class of 9,523 freshmen is a record 1110, with almost a third of Arizona freshmen in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
About a third of the first-year students have been attracted to ASU from another state or country.
Thirty-four percent of the freshmen class comes from diverse ethnic backgrounds, up from 26 percent five years ago.
Nearly 6,300 new students have transferred to ASU from a community college or other university. The all-time record is due, in part, to the strong partnerships ASU has with the community college systems throughout Arizona and increases from students from other states and countries.
About 3,000 students are now enrolled in academic programs offered through ASU Online, a 64 percent increase over last year.
Overall graduate enrollment remains relatively level with last year’s enrollment figures a result of intentional decreases in doctoral students and increases in master’s students. 13,878 graduate students are part of the ASU academic community for this fall semester – about 100 more than last fall. New graduate student enrollment increases are at the master’s level and in the out-of-state and international student populations.