Harding University in Searcy is facing the trend of declining birth rates.

Harding University fall 2019 enrollment figures include a 14 percent increase in new graduate student enrollment over fall 2018.

New undergraduate student headcount is 927, and total enrollment is 4,879.

Along with growth in new graduate student enrollment, the university reports continued financial stability and excellent student outcomes even as it strives to reverse the effects of national college enrollment trends.

While overall college enrollment in the U.S. has declined for the past eight years nationwide, Harding has seen decreases in new undergraduate student enrollment only for the past three years, and the 2019 freshman class dipped significantly less than last year. Applications for admission for fall 2020 are up 18 percent over fall 2019, further indicating a reversal in the trend.

“We have taken significant steps to improve enrollment by bringing in fresh eyes to examine our admissions practices, modernize our recruiting tactics and refine our academic scholarship model,” said Vice President for University Communications and Enrollment Jana Rucker.

“With more competition for a shrinking pool of college-bound high school graduates, it is vital to more effectively communicate the distinctive value Harding provides to students seeking a world-class, Christ-centered education.”

The university has added several new programs of study to meet job market trends and attract new students, including a new online Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) and accelerated dual degree programs for bachelor’s to MBA or MSIS.

New undergraduate majors include forensic science, environmental science, integrated marketing communications and integrative studies, which allows students flexibility to design their own interdisciplinary degree to fit their interests and career goals.

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