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September 13, 2006

Quality of ULM students on the rise

The average ACT score for 2006 full-time beginning freshmen is 21.3—the highest it has ever been at ULM. Last year the average ACT of ULM’s freshman class was 20.7. Secondly, the average ACT for the entire student body increased from 20.4 last year to 21.0 this year, the highest in ULM’s history.

In addition, since 2002, ULM has almost doubled the number of incoming freshmen receiving TOPS scholarships. More than 50 percent of this year’s full-time beginning freshmen received TOPS, the largest percentage in ULM’s history.

As ULM continues to recruit students who are academically prepared for higher education, and the quality of students continues to improve at ULM, the graduation rate should also rise, said President James Cofer. “We are in the process of defining who we are as an institution,” Cofer said in an address to faculty and staff earlier this year.

To accomplish this “definition,” ULM must prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, said Don Skelton, vice president for university advancement and external affairs. “We recognize that our faculty and staff are the key to this transition, as we develop and strengthen programs to ensure the success of our students,” he said.

One example of that effort lies in the new Bachelor of Health Science program. The program, which ULM expects the Board to approve this fall, enhances the current health science curriculum by providing students with a variety of career opportunities. Students entering this program may work in hospital management, pharmaceutical sales, or nursing home management.

With the increase in quality of students, as well as the increase in admissions standards implemented by the Board of Regents last year, ULM officials anticipated and planned for a fluctuation in fall enrollment, Skelton said. The enrollment drop was built into the budget; no programs or services will be affected.

The fall 2006 final enrollment for ULM is 8,571 students, which represents a decline of 490 students from last fall’s pre-hurricane enrollment of 9,061. After the storms, ULM accepted 214 visiting students, which inflated the final post-hurricane enrollment to 9,275 students.

Considering the enormous revitalization of ULM since 2002, Cofer is proud of what ULM, through its faculty and staff, have accomplished in a short amount of time.

Cofer said, “ULM is an extraordinary institution; our faculty and staff make our students some of the most competitive graduates in the state. As always, we will continue to explore innovative ways to ensure the success of our students during their time at ULM and beyond.”

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