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UND sees big drop in freshmen numbers

GRAND FORKS -- Enrollment at the Univeristy of North Dakota this fall semester has decreased only slightly since fall 2012, but the number of incoming freshmen is down by 19 percent, according to spokesman Peter Johnson on Wednesday.

The university's final enrollment total is 15,143, a decrease of 107 students or 0.7 percent from last year's record. It's still second-largest enrollment in university history, according to registrar Suzanne Anderson.

The number of incoming freshmen decreased by 449 from last year for a total of 1,908 this fall.

That's because the university is being more selective during the admissions process, Johnson said. The overall average of ACT scores and grade-point averages of the current year's freshmen is the strongest the university has had in years, he said.

"We've been a little bit stricter on allowing students who don't meet the overall qualifications to be admitted," he said. "The bar is moving up, so this year we accepted fewer students."

In Fargo, the state's other research university, North Dakota State University, reported record enrollment of 14,629, an increase of 1.3 percent from last year. NDSU's incoming freshman class was the second-largest in history with 2,553 students, an increase of 4.6 percent.

Student enrollment growth happened across several programs this year, with the College of Engineering and Mines adding nearly 100 students, an increase of 6.4 percent from last year. Students have been drawn to UND's new doctorate of nursing practice, created in anticipation of growing health care needs in the state, and its energy and occupational therapy programs, among others, Johnson said.