Men, international students help boost numbers

NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 6, 2016)  – Dillard’s second-highest enrollment in more than a decade of 1,261 students, a 6.4 percent increase over last fall, includes more males and more international students, according to statistics provided by the administration.

Texas, California and Illinois continue to be the main feeder states for out-of-state enrollment, although the majority of students, 59.4 percent, are from Louisiana. And public health is the No. 1 major, replacing nursing, which did not accept new majors this year.

“This is a significant uptick in enrollment for us, and we saw a growth, not just in the number of students coming to Dillard this year, but we’ve seen an increase in the quality of the students entering the university,” said David Page, vice president for enrollment management, in a Sept. 12 news release.

The student male population increased by 10 percent this fall, to 341 males, or almost one-third of student census, according to statistics released Sept. 26. Some 920 females are enrolled.

Dillard has 26 international students this semester, including 23 from Mexico.

Monica White, director for recruitment/admission programming, attributed the increase in males to the Office of Recruitment, Admissions and Programming’s attempt to be “more strategic.”

“One of the biggest things my office has done is to make sure we put more males on our publications,” she said. “This past year, we had a male initiative where we highlighted four current males in a mailing campaign,” focusing on their interests and campus involvement.

“These postcards were mailed by region (East, West, South and Midwest) to over 20,000 prospective students,” White said.

Regarding home states, almost six of every 10 students are from Louisiana, with 361 of the 749 from New Orleans. Texas supplied 128, California 126 and Illinois 66 students. Other double-digits came from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

By classification, 36.6 percent of students are freshmen, including new and returning, students, with 20.3 percent sophomores, 16.6 percent juniors and 17.7 percent seniors. Another 9 percent are classified as “other.”

With enrollment frozen this year by nursing as it goes through self-assessment to improve student outcomes, public health became the No. 1 major, with 187 students, with biology on its heels with 184 students. Business administration holds the No. 3 spot with 111 students enrolled. Mass communication and psychology tied at No. 3, with 92 students each, followed by criminal justice with 70 students.

White said her office didn’t change its approach to recruiting, but it did “take more of an initiative to follow up with those 6,000 students who applied for fall 2016.”

“We continued our communication plan as always by way of social media, personalized calls, postcards, high school visits and presentations, on- campus events, etc.”

She said a major contributing factor was “scholarship leveraging,” recommended by recruiting consultant Ruffalo-Noel Levitz. This increased financial aid assistance and, in turn, resulted in a higher student yield, White added.

The higher enrollment prompted excess demand for housing, resulting 80 students are housed off-campus, according to the release.  Overall residential occupancy is at 706 students this fall, the highest number since spring 2006 and an increase of 19 percent from fall 2015.

President Walter M. Kimbrough noted in the release that DU’s work doesn’t end by just getting students: “We will continue to develop systems of support to make sure that once these students get here, we keep them here and on course to graduate.”