Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, has exceeded its enrollment predictions with increases in first-year, transfer, and graduate students. SAU is celebrating a record-breaking enrollment with 5,094 Muleriders, a 15% increase for fall 2022. SAU’s commitment to offering in-demand programs and providing a “culture of caring” approach has provided a tremendous appeal to a diverse group of students.
“We feel so completely fortunate to reach this historic level in our enrollment. So many people in our SAU community worked tirelessly and built strong relationships with our student body and their families to make this milestone happen,” says Dr. Trey Berry, SAU president. “This has been a complete team effort! Our SAU family goes above and beyond to make SAU feel like home for our students.”
When retention rates and enrollment numbers are both trending upward, this creates exciting times at SAU. Undergraduate enrollment for the fall remains strong with 3,148 students calling SAU home. The incoming freshman class shows an 10% increase over the entering class of fall 2021. This is coupled with a freshman retention rate increasing 7% from the previous fall class. Transfer student enrollment also saw a boost this fall with a 54% increase. Sarah Jennings, associate vice president for enrollment, notes, “Promoting SAU and making our students feel welcome is truly a campus-wide effort. The increase in enrollment is a reflection of SAU’s commitment to quality programs in a caring environment. The recruitment and admissions teams are thrilled to welcome this new class!”
Graduate enrollment at SAU is at an all-time high. The 53% increase in graduate enrollment can be attributed to SAU’s continued commitment to affordability, convenience, and quality. Programs strongly contributing to the enrollment increase include the Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling, Master of Science in Computer Information Science, Master of Public Administration, and a Doctorate in Education in Rural and Diverse Educational Leadership. All of the graduate advisors work diligently to provide a comprehensive range of academic services to support students throughout their graduate programs.
As more students choose SAU, the community enjoys continued growth in areas such as the Mulerider Band. Now the largest in the University’s history at 195 students, Director of Bands J.P. Wilson says, “We are one of the largest college marching bands in Arkansas and we are very excited for this season.”
While enrollment climbs, SAU’s commitment to excellence remains steadfast. SAU nursing students completed the 2022 NCLEX with a first-time pass rate of 100% which ranks them first in Arkansas among Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs.
“We are so proud of our faculty and students,” said Dr. Karen Landry, department chair. “Our students have the commitment necessary to successfully complete this program. Nursing curricula are not easy. We are preparing these students for one of the most challenging and versatile careers available today. Family members entrust their loved ones to our care, and patient safety is our highest priority. We are an essential member of any healthcare team, and we take our responsibilities very seriously at SAU.”
Campus Housing provides a home away from home for seventeen hundred twenty-two SAU students – a 3.3% increase from last year. Sandra Martin, dean of housing, commented, “We are so excited to see so many faces back on campus, and we get to welcome so many more to campus housing.” Students can select from 16 different residential living options, including traditional, suite-style, or apartments. Among several residential options, SAU provides engaging residential interest groups that pair living with learning communities.
Mulerider Athletic programs continue to be a highlight for the campus. The spring teams had exhilarating sports seasons as they had enormous success in competition. The Mulerider baseball team made its first appearance in the NCAA DII Baseball Championship. They ended the season ranked 3rd in the nation for DII Baseball. Mulerider Men’s Tennis earned a trip to the DII National Tennis Tournament. Men’s and Women’s Track and Field posted a third-place finish at the GAC Conference Championship. Men’s Golf and Softball also made appearances in regional post-season action. As we return to more normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions of the past two fall semesters, Mulerider fans are anxiously awaiting the return of fall sports to the campus.
As Muleriders settle into a new semester, SAU’s Office of Admissions is gearing up for next year. Students interested in attending SAU are encouraged to visit campus. Southern Arkansas University provides students with the complete college experience in a caring environment of service, innovation, and community. With more than 100 degree options in four distinct colleges and the School of Graduate Studies, SAU initiates new degree programs to fit the needs of career and professional trends of today. To learn more about SAU, visit www.saumag.edu.