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Enrollment increases, first-year class largest and most diverse in university history

By Elisabeth Wall

BOONE—The figures are tallied and enrollment across the board is up at Appalachian State University.

According to data released by the university Sept. 12, total enrollment for academic year 2016 – 17 is the highest ever at 18,295, and the first-year class is the largest and most diverse in Appalachian’s history.

“Our first-year class totals 3,125 students,” Chancellor Sheri N. Everts said, “with just under 17 percent from traditionally underrepresented groups, a figure which is up from 15.2 percent in fall 2015, also an Appalachian record for diversity.” Total diverse new student enrollment (for which ethnicity/race is indicated) is up 24.5 percent over last year.

Enrollment figures increased in every category: total enrollment (main campus and distance education); new student enrollment, new transfer students, diverse new student enrollment, out-of-state new student enrollment and new graduate student enrollment. (See chart below)

Appalachian State University Enrollment Data – New Student Enrollment
New Student Enrollment Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Change
First-year Student Enrollment 3,125 3,049 +2.5%
Transfer Student Enrollment 1,596 1,440 +10.8%
New Graduate Student Enrollment 786 715 +9.9%
Diverse New Student Enrollment 949 761 +24.7%
Out-of-State New Student Enrollment 647 624 +3.7%
Appalachian State University Enrollment Data – Total Enrollment
Total Enrollment Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Change
Appalachian Total Enrollment 18,295 17,932 +2.0%
Total Undergraduate Enrollment 16,595 16,290 +1.9%
Total Graduate Enrollment 1,700 1,642 +3.5%
Total Distance Education Enrollment 1,231 1,155 +6.6%
Diverse Student Enrollment 2,695 2,458 +9.6%
Out-of-State Enrollment 1,621 1,619 0%

Retention and Graduation Rates

  • The retention rate (the rate the Fall 2015 first-year cohort returned for Fall 2016) is 87.1%, up from 85.8% for the Fall 2014 cohort.
  • The four-year graduation rate (the rate for the Fall 2012 first-year cohort) is 52.1%, up from 51.1% for the Fall 2011 cohort.
  • The five-year graduation rate (the rate for the Fall 2011 first-year cohort) is 70.5%, up from 68.5% for the Fall 2010 cohort.
  • The six-year graduation rate (the rate for the Fall 2010 first-year cohort) is 71.1%, up from 70.9% for the Fall 2009 cohort.

Prepared by Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning and Enrollment Management. Preliminary data from the Fall 2016 Student Data File and the Office of Admissions as of September 12, 2016.

The admissions selectivity process continues to enroll students most likely to succeed. For enrolled students, the average high school GPA is 4.17 (weighted), average SAT score is 1133 and ACT 25. “Our entrance quality measures and likelihood of success figures are very similar to last year’s,” Susan Davies, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, said. “The numbers indicate our selectivity process is working; we are proud to report increased quality measures for higher retention and record four-, five- and six-year graduation rates, metrics that tell us our students are getting the highest return on their investment in education.”

Slow and steady enrollment

“Slow and steady enrollment continues to be a priority at Appalachian,” Chancellor Everts said. “An important hallmark of the Appalachian Experience is the robust interaction between students and faculty, and we do not want to jeopardize our perennial student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1. While strong demand is a positive indicator of Appalachian’s overall standing, we must be able to sustain our community. Pacing the growth so that it is slow but steady is key. The leadership at Appalachian is committed to having the appropriate resources in place to support the continued health of the university.”

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low faculty-to-student ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.