Eastern New Mexico University in Portales has a 2019 fall enrollment of 5,694. The total 2018 fall enrollment was 6,015, a decrease of 321 students.
Undergraduate numbers fell by 233 to 4,473 from 4,706. Graduate enrollment fell by 88 from 1,309 last fall to 1,221 following a record number of graduate students earning diplomas in spring. Overall, dual enrollment (high school students taking college classes) fell by 142, from 1,111 last fall to 969 this fall. The state’s teacher shortage hurt ENMU in dual enrollment numbers as some schools were not able to hire teachers for programs that have worked with us in the past, which lead to the decrease of more than 100 students.
First-time, full-time freshmen remained flat with 558 in both fall of 2018 and fall 2019, an improvement from fall 2018 when ENMU saw a drop of 65 freshmen from fall 2017. Retention of first-time freshmen also improved from 62.4% in fall 2018 to 63.1% this fall.
“Across the nation, college-going rates from high school graduates is dropping,” said Dr. Jeff Elwell, President of ENMU. “In New Mexico, we saw it drop from a peak of 72.4% to 63.3% between 2010 and 2014 according to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS).” The NCHEMS data can be reviewed at http://www.higheredinfo.org/dbrowser/?year=2014&level=nation&mode=data&state=0&submeasure=63#/-1/.
”While our headcount number is down and disappointing, our Enrollment Services, Advising, and Retention employees have done an excellent job of recruiting a strong class of 558 first-time, full-time freshman in the wake of declining numbers of New Mexico high school graduates. We are also up in transfer students, seniors and most importantly, retention and degrees awarded,” said Elwell.
ENMU has seen its graduation rates continue to improve over the last several years. The six-year graduation rate climbed from 31.5% to 33%. ENMU has also seen near-record high graduation numbers with 763 students graduating in spring 2018, a record-breaking 563 students graduating in fall of 2018 and 715 students earning their degrees in spring 2019. In the spring of 2019, these numbers required ENMU to schedule two graduation ceremonies for the first time in school history.
“Our faculty and staff have worked diligently to help our students complete their degrees,” said Elwell. “Meeting our goals in getting students to the finish line (graduation) has resulted in larger numbers of students graduating, which puts a great deal of pressure on us to maintain enrollment growth.”
ENMU has also been identified as one of the fastest-growing public, master’s level institutions from 2007-17 by “The Chronicle of Higher Education.”
ENMU is ranked number 22 (of 290), with an enrollment of 4,173 students in 2007 and 6,023 students in 2017 for an increase of 44.3%.
Elwell commented, “I’m happy to see that despite the decline in high school graduates from New Mexico and the enrollment declines in colleges and universities nationwide, we are still listed as number 22 in the nation in this category.” Despite this enrollment decline, Elwell stressed, ENMU remains a strong institution. “We will continue to deliver a quality educational experience for our students at an affordable cost with faculty and staff who care about student success,” he stated.