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THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University freshmen returned for their sophomore year at the highest rate in university history, leading to a fourth consecutive year of enrollment growth.
Nicholls welcomed 6,506 students this fall, according to 14th class day statistics. This is the first time Nicholls has had more than 6,500 students since Fall 2013.
Boosting enrollment growth is a record-high freshman retention rate of 73.2 percent, breaking last year’s record of 71.4 percent. This continues a successful trend dating back to 2010 of retaining freshmen at rates of at least 68 percent, higher than the national average of 61 percent.
“We don’t have 6,506 students if not for the hard work of our admissions team recruiting new students, and our faculty and academic advisors going the extra mile to put these students on the best path for them to succeed,” said Alex Arceneaux, executive vice president of enrollment services.
Beginning Fall 2018, the university placed an emphasis on retaining and graduating it’s black, non-student-athletes after data showed they lagged behind their peers. Nicholls implemented the Colonels Retention of Winners Network which partners freshmen black non-athletes with peers to help them navigate the challenges of college. After its first full year, retention of these students increased to 70 percent, also a record.
“Once you get that student to return for their sophomore year, the chances of them eventually graduating increase dramatically,” said Dr. Sue Westbrook, provost and vice president of academic and student affairs. “So, to see this kind of success in year one is exciting. CROWN reflects the values of our university in a way that changes our students’ lives.”
Incoming freshmen posted an average composite ACT score of 22.36. This is the third consecutive year where the new class has posted an average score of 22 or higher.
Nicholls Online enrollment increased by 21 percent, the largest since the program was created in 2011.
“Nicholls Online and its degree programs are regularly recognized on a national stage for providing a low-cost, quality education,” Dr. Westbrook said. “As our reputation grows, we expect our online enrollment to boom.”