NATCHITOCHES, La. (NSU) - Northwestern State University reached a record enrollment this fall for the second straight year with the registration of 11,081 students.
Enrollment at the university, which has increased for five consecutive years, is up by 509, a 4.8 percent increase over the previous enrollment record last fall of 10,572.
NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio said, “This continuing growth in enrollment reflects the vibrant atmosphere at Northwestern and the positive reputation and image of the university in this region, the state and beyond.”
Maggio added, “At the very root of this record enrollment is the ongoing success and satisfaction of students, the quality, effectiveness and dedication of faculty and staff members and the strong support of alumni and friends of the university.”
The Northwestern president said, “The expansion and enhancement of academic programs, improvements in infrastructure and facilities and continued growth in private financial contributions from alumni and others are providing much of the momentum for this surge in enrollment.”
This fall’s freshman class enrollment of 1,562 is an increase of 1.3 percent over last year, according to Acting Registrar Barbara Prescott.
Maggio said increased freshman registration “should help assure future enrollment growth.”
NSU student Casey Williams said the campus atmosphere is one of the things that attracted her to the university.
“Being a fourth generation Demon, Northwestern State University already felt like home,” said Casey Williams, a nursing major from Leesville. “The university fosters a sense of community that allows everyone to be themselves and grow as students and citizens. Being an aspiring nurse, NSU’s nursing program was also a perfect fit, considering their great reputation.”
Williams, a sophomore, is in her first semester on NSU’s campus after earning 40 hours through the dual enrollment program in high school. She is active in campus activities as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, the Purple Pizazz Pom Pon Line and serving as an NSU Ambassador.
“After my first few weeks at NSU, I’ve come to the conclusion that our university is one full of positivity and empowerment,” said Williams. “I have truly found my niche and have loved every second of being a Demon.”
The university expanded its academic programs by adding a Bachelor of Fine Arts program in dance. NSU is seeking additional programs that will enhance economic development opportunities in the region and state.
Northwestern State continued to offer more opportunities for students to study internationally and has signed articulation agreements with community and technical colleges to make it easier for students to transfer to Northwestern State to earn a bachelor’s degree without losing credits.
Maggio said Northwestern State undertook a number of projects to enhance facilities and improve the overall student experience.
The former Neebo building on University Parkway was converted into a new bookstore. The facility will house a Chick-fil-A Express later this year. A circular drive and ADA compliant parking area were installed in front of Watson Library for library patrons and those who visit Café DeMon. NSU’s Academic Advising department will relocate to the first floor of Watson Library with access through the Academic Success Center, which completes the revitalization of Watson’s first floor where the Academic Advising Center, Academic Success Center and Testing Center are all in one location.
The university is installing an elevator in the Teacher Education Center and is developing a concrete activity platform behind the TEC which is also ADA accessible. Other building upgrades include a privately-funded remodeled state-of-the-art classroom in Bienvenu Hall and plans to improve the heating and air conditioning equipment that will continue this fall.
At NSU’s Shreveport campus, the university has teamed with Follett to open a new bookstore in the university library to better serve Shreveport nursing students and a project is underway to improve ADA accessibility at the Warrington Nursing and Child and Family Network building. In Natchitoches, NSU’s College of Nursing is installing a nursing lab with 10 nursing hospital beds for Natchitoches nursing clinicals students.