State's Largest University Expects Enrollment Record

Two Northwest Arkansas universities are welcoming more students than ever to their campus, predicting that they’ll break previous enrollment records for students and new students.

The University of Arkansas expects the record-breaking overall enrollment. John Brown University has its largest group of new students on campus.

The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville expects its final enrollment to be near 26,600 students, including more than 4,900 freshmen, said university spokesman Steve Voorhies. The state’s flagship university had record enrollment in the fall 2014 when 26,237 students attended the school.

More students in college and pursuing degrees is important to the long-term success of Northwest Arkansas. Companies interested in expanding to new regions consider whether a community can provide the long-term workforce needed to be successful, and the percentage of residents with college degrees and a particular skill is often a key factor.

The University of Arkansas as well as John Brown University, Northwest Technical Institute, UAMS Northwest and NorthWest Arkansas Community College are providing students with the expertise and training they need to be part of the region's ever-improving workforce.

John Brown University in Siloam Springs welcomed 456 new students to campus when classes started today. That included 364 freshmen and 92 transfer students. It amounted to a 17 percent increase over last year in the number of first-time JBU students.

The top 10 majors represented in the freshmen class include nursing, business administration, graphic design, elementary education, biology, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, family and human services, kinesiology and psychology, said JBU spokesman Lucas Roebuck.

Northwest Technical Institute has enrolled 245 students this fall. The institute had 219 students in the fall last year.

UAMS Northwest, which has students pursuing degrees so they can be such things as medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists, has 201 students this fall.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College spokesman Steven Hinds said the two-year school continued to enroll new students on Tuesday. Classes started on Monday. The college doesn’t plan to release its enrollment figure until the 11th day of classes, Hinds said. The Bentonville college’s enrollment last year was 8,098 students.

The 11th day of classes is the official day that all public colleges and universities record their enrollment and that figure is what's reported to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.