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UW-River Falls Sets Enrollement Record

September 2, 1998

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls this fall has set a ne record for the largest enrollment in the institution's 124-year history.

A total of 5,617 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. That's four more students then the previous record, set in 1986 before the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents imposed enrollment caps that were only lifted last year.

This year's student body also represents a jump of 191 students over last fall's enrollment.

Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau attributed the increase to numerous influences, but most notably to the reputation of the strength of academic programs and the expertise of the faculty who deliver them, in addition to the University's and community's inviting atmosphere.

Admissions Director Alan Tuchtenhagen noted that those factors stand out when prospective students and their parents visit the campus and River Falls.

"The River Falls area has some very positive aspects. We are in an ideal location. We have a beautiful campus in a beautiful town, and this is a very supportive community for our students. Families pick up on that right away when they visit."

On campus, parents and students are impressed with a 19-1 faculty-to-student ratio and the apparent close mentoring relationships between students and teachers.

"It may sound like a cliché, but I like to say that we are 'just the right size,' " Tuchtenhagen said. He explained that the campus' faculty and student population size provides enough mass for comprehensive offerings in over 40 majors, while the intimacy of small classrooms and the campus' culture invites the building personal relationships between students, faculty and staff.

Enrollment numbers also are impacted by the campus' location within the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Its dynamic growth, coupled with an increase in Echo Boomers entering college-the children of the Baby Boomers who swelled campuses in the 1960s-also are contributing substantially.

Those two factors have led the University to project an enrollment growth to an estimated 6,000 students in the next few years.

UW-RF's strong academic reputation also is drawing well-prepared students who have a greater likelihood of graduation.

This year's freshman class is one of the largest and brightest in the institution's history. Its 1,210 members have an average ACT test score that is higher than the state and national averages, averaging 22.68, and nearly 90 percent graduated in the top half of their high school classes.

"Our freshman class enrollment will be among the most successful in Wisconsin in meeting and exceeding our target for both quality and quantity," Tuchtenhagen said.

"It's increasingly important for students and their parents to feel that they are at a University with an excellent academic reputation in a world-class higher education system. They want to be among the best of the best," Tuchtenhagen noted.

Loyalty of UW-RF alumni also play a role in the University's recruiting and enrollment success, the admissions director added.

"I regularly hear from high school counselors and others about the loyalty of our alumni in recommending the University. They tell me they routinely are meeting successful people who went here, and that we have very loyal alums who talk us up."

Here is a statistical breakout of the student population this fall:

„Freshmen, 1,210

„Continuing freshmen, 421

„Sophomores, 1,194

„Juniors, 1,036

„Seniors, 1,283

„Graduate students: 346

„Special students (enrolled for at least one class), 127

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