ACU and McMurry Show Enrollment Increases; HSU Down
By LORETTA FULTON
McMurry and Abilene Christian universities both saw enrollment increases for fall 2022, while Hardin-Simmons University recorded its third consecutive enrollment drop.
ACU, affiliated with the Churches of Christ, hit a record high for the fifth consecutive year. Total enrollment for fall 2022 is 5,731 students. The university saw increases in all key areas: undergraduate enrollment, graduate enrollment and both the Abilene campus and online classes.
“It’s exciting and humbling to welcome our largest-ever student body this year, as more and more students are attracted to the transformative experience and world-class education offered at ACU,” said ACU President Phil Schubert.
McMurry, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, announced the largest total student enrollment since 2012 with 1,245 students, up from 1,155 in fall 2021.
“McMurry is ready for an incredible year,” said McMurry President Sandra Harper. “Despite the hardships we endured through the pandemic, our university remains a valued place of higher education. With all our new campus projects and Centennial events, we are excited to have a full student body to share in the celebrations.”
New majors in communications studies, engineering physics, human health science, and sports leadership and management are among the factors driving enrollment increases, the university said in a news release.
Hardin-Simmons, affiliated with the Baptist church, was the only local university to announce an enrollment decrease. Total enrollment at HSU for fall 2022 is 1,765. In fall 2021, enrollment was 1,933, which was 195 fewer students than enrolled in fall 2020. Enrollment also dropped by 196 students from 2019 to 2020.
The university blamed the enrollment decline on the ongoing effects of COVID-19. A news release noted “the academic vigor” brought in by this year’s freshman class. Out of 428 new students, the release noted, 13 percent were in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and an additional 37 percent were in the top 25 percent.
The university also is touting campus improvements and new degree programs.
“Looking forward, the HSU community is currently accepting applicants for the new mechanical engineering program, which will being in fall 2023,” the release stated.
Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene