Following the fourth straight year of fall enrollment records at Southern Arkansas University, the enrollment for this semester rose above last spring’s record-setting numbers.

The total number of students at SAU is 4,345, which was reported to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education on the 11th class day on Thursday, January 26, 2017. This number is 152 higher than the record enrollment last spring.

“We are extremely excited about the number of students who have chosen SAU as their university home this spring. It is incredible to see the spring enrollment this year much larger than the spring semester of 2016,” said SAU President Dr. Trey Berry.

Other spring enrollment totals are also the highest ever for SAU: undergraduate total of 3,046 (164 more than last spring) and SAU Housing enrollment of 1,552 (108 above last spring).

“From talking with many our students, it seems clear that they are being attracted to the unique and vibrant academic programs at SAU, to our affordability, and to the atmosphere of caring so evident on this campus,” said Berry.

SAU has experienced enrollment records for four years in a row. During this time, SAU has established several new and unique programs that are proving popular in region. SAU Engineering, which launched fall 2013, already posted an enrollment in fall of around 200 students. SAU’s Game Development and Animation Design programs have attracted 100 students to Magnolia. Marine Biology is also growing with 20 declared majors. Programs launched in 2016 are already garnering attention and include Cybersecurity, Social Entrepreneurship, Welding Engineering Technology and Engineering Technology. SAU’s other established programs are also attracting top students, including areas of pre-health, nursing, business, liberal arts and agriculture. For the Department of Agriculture alone, this freshman class includes two Arkansas FFA officers – President Kinsey Watkins and Northwest Ark. Vice President Drew List – as well as the Arkansas 4-H President Mary Alice Cole. SAU’s theme this year is “I Chose SAU,” and when Cole was asked why she wanted to be a Mulerider, she quickly responded, “for me, it’s always been SAU.”

SAU’s balance of affordability and quality has caught the attention of national higher education publications with several regional and national recognitions. The most recent accolade for SAU was a ranking of fourth among the 100 most affordable small universities west of the Mississippi, by The U.S. Department of Education also reported SAU as the most affordable and with the highest return on investment among any university in Arkansas in 2015.

Two new residence halls opened fall 2016. In response to and in anticipation of steady enrollment growth continuing at SAU, the university is constructing two additional residence halls to be open for fall 2017. One will house a residential living and learning community for science and engineering students, and will be just across the scenic pond from SAU’s new Engineering Building. SAU’s Blue and Gold Cafeteria is also undergoing an expansion.

Even as more students choose SAU and the facilities expand, the campus continues to thrive on the caring culture developed well back to when the school was established in 1909. Students are welcomed with academic support in the Academic Enrichment Center and across campus in Supplemental Instruction sessions hosted by successful upperclassmen. The second year of the campus-wide Team Study has also continued to grow with students congregating in their residence hall lobbies to learn improve their study skills and grades.

For more information about SAU visit their website at

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