NAU sees record number of freshmen

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) -- A record number of freshmen are hitting the books at Northern Arizona University this fall, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.

Nearly 5,000 students have enrolled in the school's freshmen class, school officials said. Preliminary figures show enrollment received a 5 percent bump over the previous year.

University officials say they are pleased that this year's incoming freshmen appear more diverse and have a slightly higher average GPA than in recent years.

"Our incoming class also has a higher mix of ethnicities and international students, which makes for a stronger and more dynamic learning environment," Public Affairs Director Tom Bauer said.

While the student body has increased, the rate of growth has slowed. The 2013 class was more than 11 percent larger than the previous year. Still, enrollment overall at the school is up for a fifth year with more than 20,000 registered.

Jane Kuhn, associate vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said the trend shows more high school graduates are interested in continuing with their education. The state could only benefit economically from the high numbers, she said.

The number of Hispanic or Latino students also rose by about 10 percent, bringing that number to more than 5,300.

Official enrollment numbers will be released Sept. 18.

Enrollment seems to be up at all three of the state's major public universities. Arizona State University in Tempe reported an overall enrollment of more than 82,000 people, an 8 percent jump from last year. According to the school, freshmen enrollment grew to more than 11,000.

In Tucson, the University of Arizona estimated its largest overall enrollment ever as well as just among the freshmen class. Preliminary estimates indicate roughly 41,800 students joined the fall semester, a rise of about 3 percent over 2013. That figure includes 7,800 incoming freshmen - 600 more students than a year ago.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/

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