Enrollment of new undergraduate students, many of them freshmen, is up at UNLV this fall, and more graduate students are taking more credit hours.
"Our new freshmen and undergraduate transfer students have increased by 4.64 percent to 3,316, graduate enrollment is up 1.7 percent, and graduate-level full-time equivalent (FTE), a measure of the number of credits taken, is up 6.3 percent," according to President Carol C. Harter.
Although the university's headcount is somewhat lower than it was last year, the overall FTE figures show that the number of credits taught is nearly the same, which indicates that students are taking heavier credit loads, on average. University officials believe this is due, in large part, to this fall's decrease in the number of part-time special students.
Fall headcount enrollment at UNLV is 19,769, a decrease of 470 (2.3 percent) from last fall's 20,239. The FTE, however, is virtually stable, decreasing only slightly from 13,211 in 1994 to 13,166 this fall (.3 percent).
Special students are those who have not been formally admitted to the university and who take six or fewer credits. The decrease in their numbers accounts for virtually all of the drop in total headcount, according to Jeff Halverson, dean of admissions and records.
Halverson speculated that the drop in special-student enrollment may be due to the stricter residency requirements that recently went into effect in the University and Community College System of Nevada.
In the past, non-admitted students taking up to six credits were not charged non-resident tuition. But beginning this fall semester, non-admitted students who have not met residency requirements must pay the higher, non-resident tuition fees that are charged to admitted non-resident students, regardless of how few credits they take.
"The increase in admitted undergraduates, combined with the drop in part-time, non-admitted students, indicates that we have a larger proportion of degree-seeking students, which is something we like to see," Harter said.
Observing that the number of graduate students enrolled this fall rose 1.7 percent to 4,115, Ron Smith, interim provost, said, "I'm convinced that we are enrolling both graduate and undergraduate students who are better prepared academically and who are, increasingly, full-time."
Smith said it is "a very promising sign" that the numbers of both freshmen and graduate students have increased this fall.