ENMU reporting record enrollment

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University has a record spring enrollment this semester.

The university has 4,359 students taking classes, an increase of 8.4 percent over last spring, according to a news release from ENMU.

The enrollment is the second-highest of any semester in the school’s history. According to the release, only last fall had a bigger enrollment with 4,685 students.

Also, student credit hours are 45,494, up 8.2 percent from last spring, according to the release.

ENMU President Steven Gamble said it is unusual for spring semesters to have such a high enrollment.

They usually have fewer students because people have graduated or flunked out but not many students are coming in, unlike in the fall, when new high school graduates are enrolling.

“What has helped our enrollment the most has been our reputation,” Gamble said. “Students want to attend a school where they know they’ll get a good education, and Eastern has the reputation of being able to furnish that education.”

Gamble also cited a College Board survey indicating ENMU has the second-lowest tuition and fees of any four-year state school in the Southwest, with only New Mexico Highlands University being less expensive.

A commitment to personal touch brings students to the university as well, Gamble said.

“We try to make sure that no student drops through the cracks at Eastern,” he said, adding that if someone did fall through the cracks, it generally wasn’t from lack of effort on the part of faculty and staff.

In addition, Gamble credited ENMU’s recruiting staff with bringing in more students.

Vice President of University Relations and Enrollment Services Ronnie Birdsong said the bad economy has also led more people to attend college instead of working.

“We’ve been growing continuously for the past eight years,” she said.

Birdsong said the university received the expected growth, plus what came from the economic problems and hard work by faculty and staff to recruit and keep students.

Both online and on-campus enrollments have increased, she said.