Last year, I initiated the Faculty and Staff Institute with a clear mission of consistently reviewing processes and procedures to ensure a seamless transition for college admissions and student retention. These two focal points encompass the entire university, spanning from the aesthetics of our campus grounds to the cleanliness of our facilities and spaces, as well as the quality of interactions between our faculty, staff, and students. I reiterated the same mission this year, and I extend my appreciation and applause for your role in recruiting and retaining students. Your dedication and hard work have yielded a positive return.

I would like to update you on the enrollment status for the Fall 2023 semester. The total enrollment on the 14th day of classes, which includes late registrants, stand at 8,847, marking a 5.8 percent decline compared to the previous year.

Although a decline has occurred, our current enrollment data is outperforming our initial projections. I believe we are making positive strides in our first-time freshman enrollment and retention rates. Among our undergraduates, we welcomed 1,029 first-time freshmen, an increase of 61 from Fall 2022, representing 6.3 percent growth. The retention rate for the Fall 2022 entering freshmen reached 66.37 percent, an improvement of 12.2 percent compared to the previous year.

The collective effort and dedication you have demonstrated throughout the summer have enabled us to retain more students, allowing us to recruit a larger incoming freshman class. I anticipate a successful semester ahead and extend my gratitude for your continued support of our students, and more importantly, their academic success.

Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University