LITTLE ROCK – Enrollment has dropped at many state-supported colleges and universities because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville reported a healthy increase in its student population. The university has 29,068 students enrolled, which is 5.5 percent more than last year.
Institutions make a preliminary count on the 11th day of the fall semester.
Arkansas State University reported enrollment this fall of 13,772 students. That is a decrease of 0.5 percent since last year.
Enrollment at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway is down about 2.2 percent from last year, to 10,105 students.
This semester Arkansas Tech has seen a decline of 10.9 percent in enrollment at its campuses in Russellville and Ozark, to a total of 9,645.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has a decreased enrollment of 6.8 percent. The total number of students in its graduate and undergraduate programs is 8,297, according to preliminary headcounts reported to the state Higher Education Division.
The University of Arkansas at Monticello has 2,673 students, a decline of 1.7 percent since last year.
Enrollment is 4,434 at South Arkansas University at Magnolia. That’s the same as last year Henderson State in Arkadelphia enrolled 2,914 students, which is down 7.9 percent from last year.
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff reported an enrollment gain of three percent, to a total of 2,748 students.
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, with 5,444 students, is down 7.5 percent from last year.
In all, Arkansas state-supported universities saw a drop of 1.1 percent in enrollment, to 92,188 students.
The most popular college scholarship program in Arkansas is the Academic Challenge Scholarship, which is paid for with revenue from lottery tickets. Last year the lottery scholarships were awarded to 30,580 students.
Since 2011 the program has distributed more than a billion dollars in scholarships.
The sale of lottery tickets is affected by the size of the jackpots in Powerball and Mega Millions. When the lottery has an enormous prize at stake, sales go up and more revenue is placed into scholarships.
To qualify for the Academic Challenge Scholarship, students must take a full load. That means 12 hours in their first semester after high school, and 15 hours in all subsequent semesters. They must have a composite score of 19 or higher on the ACT standardized college admission test.
The average ACT score of last year’s high school graduates who went to an Arkansas college and received an Academic Challenge Scholarship was 22.7.
To keep the scholarship they must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5, where a grade of A is 4.0, a grade of B is 3.0 and a grade of C is 2.0.
After their first academic year they must have completed 27 hours of course work, and after each following year they must complete 30 hours.
The state Division of Higher Education web site has information about paying for college, how to apply for scholarships and how to apply for student loans. The Internet address is www.adhe.edu