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2013 February 4 - 12:00 am

TRACKING TRENDS: La. College Tries To Stem Student Losses

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The University of New Orleans is putting its name everywhere from social media outlets to highway billboards and trailers at local movie theaters.

The extensive marketing and branding campaign is an attempt to boost student enrollment, which has declined steadily over the past three years.

Before Katrina hit in 2005, the school counted more than 17,000 students, making it the second-largest four-year university in Louisiana. Enrollment hit a post-Katrina peak of 11,724 in 2009 but was down to 10,071 in the last fall semester.

University vice president Brett Kemker attributes the numbers in part to higher admission standards required by the state Board of Regents. Those are pushing remedial classes to two-year schools — only community colleges will offer them by 2014 — and require minimum ACT scores of 21 and grade-point averages of 2.5 to get into four-year schools.

“These changes alone have had quite an impact on the number of students that we can admit,” Kemker said.

However, enrollment is risen over the same period at Southern University of New Orleans, which had 3,647 students before the storm and had 3,480 last fall.

Until the 2010-11 school year, SUNO could admit any student with a high school diploma. Following Regents’ requirements, it limited enrollment two years ago to students who have completed the state’s college preparatory curriculum, earned a 2.0 grade point average in high school and need no more than one remedial course.

Community colleges have benefited from the higher admission standards for four-year colleges.

Delgado Community College’s student body rose since 2006 to 20,452 in 2011 before dropping to 18,115 this past fall. The 2,300-student drop included about 800 participants in Delgado’s noncredit apprentice programs who were removed from the list of full-time students.

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