Northwestern State University’s current spring semester enrollment of 9,191 is an increase of 540 students, or 6.1 percent, over last spring’s registration count of 8,651.
This spring’s enrollment numbers are the highest for a spring term at the university since 2006, the first year of selective admissions, and the largest gain in spring semester enrollment since 2003.
NSU Acting President Dr. Chris Maggio attributed the substantial enrollment increase to “the university’s continuing focus on academic excellence, expanded efforts to attract and retain outstanding students and an increased emphasis on meaningful and effective student services.”
Maggio said another major factor in the enrollment gain was Northwestern’s decision “to provide full funding for TOPS scholarships this spring to assist students in making the difficult transition to reductions in the program enacted by the state.”
TOPS recipients at universities statewide received total funding for the scholarships during the fall semester, but TOPS allocations were reduced by nearly 60 percent for the spring.
Maggio noted that former NSU president Dr. Jim Henderson, now head of the University of Louisiana System, “made the decision to use funds from reserves, increased fall enrollment revenues, private funding and other sources to honor the university’s commitment to TOPS student for the spring, and that was obviously a good investment.”
The NSU acting president said student services were enhanced last year with the opening of an Academic Success Center in Watson Library to improve campus wide tutoring and academic support for students. A gift from State Sen. Gerald Long and his wife Rose helped fund the establishment of the center.
“Everything that is accomplished at Northwestern can be attributed to the combined efforts of students, faculty, alumni, friends and stakeholders,” Maggio said. When these groups with a common interest in advancing our university work together, we can do great things.”
Northwestern has also focused increased attention on realigning and developing academic programs that give students expanded skills and training for high demand jobs in this region and across the state.
NSU has developed a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development to develop a trained workforce for CRSA, a global leader of next-generation technology services and solutions at the Cyber Research Park in Bossier City. Through this partnership, NSU will triple the size of the renowned computer information systems program.
The university has also signed several new agreements with community and technical colleges throughout Louisiana to make it easier for students with an associate degree to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Last fall, Northwestern State created the first competency based degree program in the state. The program in computer information systems allows students to learn and advance at their own pace as they demonstrate mastery of specific skills.
A new Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource Management has been created, and the university has also developed post associate and post baccalaureate certificates in quality control and project management along with a post baccalaureate certificate in business analytics.
Northwestern State was ranked as most affordable online college in the United States by College Choice, a leading authority in college and university rankings and resources.
Northwestern State is also implementing a new Doctor of Education degree that will prepare individuals for leadership positions that focus on adult learning and development, particularly in the community college setting.
Maggio said, “These innovative academic advancements will make the university even more attractive to prospective students in the years ahead.”