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UNM’s spring semester registration slightly below target

After seeing fall semester enrollment slide more than 7 percent, University of New Mexico regents and administrators are keeping a close eye on spring semester registration.

With six weeks to go before the semester starts, student registration is at about 68.5 percent of the university’s target enrollment figure of 22,124 students, according to Terry Babbitt, interim chief of staff, in an update to the UNM Board of Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee on Tuesday.

Babbitt told regents the spring population goal was adjusted to account for the fall enrollment figures. He also told regents Tuesday’s registration figure is slightly below the 70 percent mark administrators would like to see six weeks prior to a new semester, but enrollment figures change daily.

“It is a volatile cycle right now,” Babbitt told regents. “For example, we have 250 pharmacy students that aren’t in yet that were in last year. (The department registers) them all at once. Things like that cause daily fluctuations, and that’s why we track it daily.”

Registration began Nov. 19 and will continue until the spring semester starts Jan. 14.

UNM had anticipated an enrollment drop this fall but not such a large decrease. UNM’s fall semester student population was 24,393, down from 26,278 in 2017 — a decrease of 7.2 percent.

The spring semester student population is traditionally smaller than in fall. But the spring number has also fallen the past five years – a cumulative drop of 10.6 percent since 2014.

According to an official enrollment report, 23,911 students attended UNM in the 2018 spring semester, a 4.1 percent decrease from the 25,015 students who attended the year before.

Babbitt told regents that university administrators are working on new game plans and untapped markets to contend with declining enrollment.

“We’ll have some good ideas that we will be talking about – with new visions, new financial aid strategies for a changing environment,” he said.