/ Modified aug 8, 2017 9:58 a.m.

UA Looks to Nontraditional Students to Offset Enrollment Losses

Admissions official says it's a national issue and birthrate is to blame.

University of Arizona mall hero Looking down at the mall on the campus of the University of Arizona. (PHOTO: AZPM Staff)

Decreasing freshman enrollment is forcing the University of Arizona to up recruitment efforts outside of its usual target demographic of recent high school graduates.

UA Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Kasey Urquidez said the university is fighting to increase its freshman enrollment numbers. This is pretty difficult, according to Urquidez, for one big reason.

“Across the country, there’s just less freshmen,” Urquidez said. “We are experiencing a time where there are just not as many. And that’s based on birthrate, 18 years ago.”

Urquidez said the university has ramped up domestic and international recruiting efforts targeting nontraditional students in response to its dwindling freshman class sizes.

“And so by doing that, we’re really widening the net much bigger,” she said. “To be able to attract more students to obtain their degree from the UA.”

Freshman enrollment dropped by 3.5 percent last year, and new international student enrollment dropped by 8.6 percent, according to UA data. Urquidez said this isn’t just a UA problem — universities across the country are seeing decreases in freshman enrollment.

“There are 1 million fewer students in college today than there were five years ago,” she said. “Really, colleges and universities across the country are working hard to try to figure out how to recruit students and to continue to grow their classes.”

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