Northwest Arkansas Enrollment Tops 37,000

The number of Northwest Arkansas residents who are pursuing post-secondary education is more than 1,000 higher than it was a year ago.

That’s great news for Northwest Arkansas as the region becomes more attractive to expanding companies if more people earn college degrees and diplomas. Additionally, studies show people who advance their education earn more during their lifetime and have higher overall quality of life.

In all, 37,243 people are pursuing college degrees or diplomas this fall at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, John Brown University in Siloam Springs, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest in Fayetteville, or Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale.

The largest number of those 37,000 students — 26,301 in all — are attending the University of Arkansas. UA announced last week that its enrollment hit an all-time high, and it’s a 3.8 percent increase over the fall 2013.

The region’s largest private school — John Brown University — announced today that its enrollment is 2,371 this fall. That’s a 2.33 percent increase over last fall. The school's engineering program, which has 135 students enrolled, is the most popular undergraduate major at JBU.

UAMS Northwest has a fall enrollment of 188, up from 174 last year. It reported 30 of those students are family medicine residents while the remainder are pursuing degrees in in the colleges of health professions, medicine, pharmacy and nursing.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College is the region’s second-largest school and announced Tuesday that fall enrollment is 8,164. That’s up 0.77 percent from a year ago.

Meanwhile, Northwest Technical Institute, which offers 10- and 18-month diploma programs in such areas as industrial maintenance, nursing, machine tool technology, surgical technology and electronics technology, has 219 students this fall. There were 244 students last fall.

Having additional students in post-secondary education systems should lead to continued improvement in the region’s overall educational attainment. The Northwest Arkansas Council continues to work with educational partners to increase how many people have completed post-secondary education as a higher overall educational attainment is important to the region’s long-term success.