According to a statement from The University of Wyoming, the school has enrolled the second-largest freshman class in its history this fall. This record follows a record number of graduates in the past academic year.

The 1,760 first-time students this semester, while down from the record of 1,849 the year before, still represent a nearly 12 percent increase from fall 2014. The University says that these numbers illustrate heightened awareness of the value of an education at UW.

Meanwhile, the number of people receiving degrees and certificates from UW in the 2018-19 academic year topped 3,000 for the first time ever, according to new numbers from UW’s Office of Institutional Analysis. The 3,031 total degrees included 2,228 bachelor’s degrees, also a new record, and an increase of more than 100 from the year before.

“Our focus is not only on recruiting more students to attend the university, but also on helping them succeed and receive their degrees,” Kyle Moore, UW’s associate vice provost for enrollment management said in a press release. “The numbers we’re seeing in enrollment and graduation illustrate our positive trajectory and energize us for the additional work to be done.”

In part because of the record number of graduates, UW’s overall enrollment dipped slightly this semester after two straight years of growth. According to census data collected on the 15th day of classes, 12,249 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the university, compared to 12,450 last fall. The 15th class day is used because it falls after the class drop/add deadlines, and after the first tuition and fee payment is due.

While the number of first-time students who applied and were admitted to UW increased to 5,133 from 5,084 the year before, the number actually enrolling declined -- preventing another record freshman class. There are 57 fewer Wyoming resident first-time freshmen (858) and 42 fewer nonresidents (902) than in last fall’s record class, but the number of nonresidents is still significantly higher than the 771 enrolled in fall 2017. And the new freshman class still meets the projections desired for fall 2019, keeping UW on pace to achieve its enrollment goals.

“We have intensified our efforts to recruit Wyoming students, and the university is working with our K-12 and community college partners to create more of a college-going culture in the state,” Moore says. “While college might not be for everyone, the statistics are clear that earning a bachelor’s degree leads to significantly higher earnings and job satisfaction. And the future prosperity of our state depends in large measure on a higher level of educational attainment.”

To make a UW education more accessible to Wyoming high school graduates, the university’s Board of Trustees recently approved a significant increase in merit- and need-based aid to Wyoming students starting in the 2020-21 academic year.

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