For the seventeenth consecutive year, Arkansas Tech University has broken its total enrollment record. This year, the university enrolled 12,007 students for the fall 2015 semester.
“The fact that we have more than enough [students] is truly a blessing,” Shauna Donnell, director of admissions, said. “We have a proven track record.”
That track record shows a sustained increase in growth for the Tech student population.
According to the Office of Institutional Research, for the fall 2009 semester, Tech enrolled 8,814 students. From fall 2009 to fall 2010, the student count increased by 1,001 students, putting enrollment at 9,815 students.
The upward trend continued.
From fall 2010 to fall 2011, enrollment increased from 9,815 students to 10,464 students; from fall 2011 to fall 2012, enrollment increased from 10,464 students to 10,950 students; from fall 2012 to fall 2013, enrollment increased from 10,950 students to 11,369 students; and from fall 2013 to fall 2014, enrollment increased from 11,369 students to 12,002.
A recent press release from Tech’s News and Information website revealed enrollment was topped, yet again, earlier this semester.
“Arkansas Tech reported a preliminary 11 day enrollment of 12,007 students for the fall 2015 semester on Thursday,” the news release reads.
While the growth has been celebrated, the increase in enrollment also puts strain on certain departments.
“We currently have 2,768 on campus beds,” Aaron Hogan, associate dean for residence life, said. “However, Wilson Hall is currently closed for renovation. If Wilson were open right now, we would have 2,932 beds. This total includes 280 beds that we currently lease from Vista Place apartments.”
To accommodate students not housed on campus, Tech provides what’s called over-flow housing. Hogan said students are housed at local Russellville hotels and Tech’s Lake Point Conference Center until an on-campus vacancy becomes available.
While Residence Life looks into the future of housing for students, the student population could surpass its renovation and improvement efforts. “The number of on-campus beds we have is limited,” Hogan said. “Also, the number of overflow beds we have is limited. At some point we would have to say we are full.” However, Hogan doesn’t fear the increasing growth at Tech.
“I think that you could say that this presents a positive problem that will only lead to a better and brighter future for Arkansas Tech,” he said.