Dillard enrollment declined slightly again this spring after the student census experienced a 12.3 percent drop in fall 2008, compared to the previous fall, according to officials.
With a pre-Katrina enrollment high of 2,092 in fall 2003, the fall 2008 numbers amount to a 59.3 percent decrease over the past five years. And the reduction since Katrina amounts to a decline of 53.7 percent in three years.
The good news is that applications to Dillard have more than doubled since last year, officials told the Times-Picayune in a Jan. 30 article. And Dillard officials told the Courtbouillon they expect the university census to be “right-sized” within the next couple of years.
Dr. Toya Barnes-Teamer, vice president for Student Success, reported 829 students are enrolled for spring 2009, compared with 851 students in fall 2008, a slight reduction of 2.6 percent.
The fall 2008 numbers, 851, were down by 12.3 percent when compared to fall 2007’s numbers of 956.
Barnes-Teamer noted that enrollment already had begun to drop prior to Katrina. From the high in fall 2003, the number of students dropped to 1,961, or 6.3 percent, in fall 2004. By fall 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, Dillard had 1,838 students, another 6.3 percent decline. When students returned the year after Katrina, 1,124 were enrolled that fall of 2006, representing a decline of 38.8 percent compared with the previous fall.
In an e-mail communication, Barnes-Teamer referred to a recent Times-Picayune article in which Dillard reported a 110 percent jump in applications, the highest of all area colleges reporting. Dillard has had 2,497 applications this year, compared with 1,189 a year ago.
She said that her office and the office of Dr. David Taylor, provost, are addressing the issue of retaining students while the office of Danneal Jones, dean of enrollment management, is addressing new student enrollment. The university has an “enrollment recovery plan” and has hired new staff for more aggressive recruitment.
“If we do not retain the students we have, it makes it harder to grow enrollment, as all we are doing is replacing the ones we lose,” Barnes-Teamer said.
She added that students also can play a role in assisting in this effort, starting with pre-registering for classes “so we are not expending as much energy” on getting solid numbers and, instead, can focus on new students coming in.
Other requests Barnes-Teamer made of students:
· Focus on maintaining “appropriate” grade-point averages and course loads to graduate.
· Volunteer to assist with recruitment in your areas and at your high schools.
· Participate in extracurricular activities so new students can see an active campus life.
(Brittany N. Odom contributed to this report.)