LITTLE ROCK — The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is slashing spending in response to a drop in enrollment.
The unofficial enrollment total at UALR was 12,403 as of the 11th day of classes, said UALR spokeswoman Judy Williams. At the same time last year, enrollment was 12,872.
The 3.6 percent decrease could result in the loss of about $3 million in revenue for the school, Williams said Thursday.
"The chancellor has asked for an immediate 10 percent reduction in non-personnel spending," she said. "In addition to that, we have instituted, it’s not a hard hiring freeze but we call it a semi-hard hiring freeze. In other words, if there’s a critical area that we need to hire for student success and things related to that, then we would fill that position, but if it’s a position that is not considered highly critical then we will freeze that position."
For the first time, UALR this fall is requiring most incoming freshmen to live on campus. Williams said the policy change is not necessarily related to the enrollment drop.
"It could work both ways for us. We might have lost some students because of that, we might have gained some students because of that," she said.
While some students may have decided not to enroll because of the new residency policy, some may have been attracted to UALR because of its increased campus life, Williams explained.
UALR acquired an apartment-style housing complex, University Village, last year. As of Thursday, the complex was at 95 percent capacity and all student housing was at 90 percent capacity.
Williams said university officials suspect the enrollment drop has more to do with the improving economy.
"We think some people who couldn’t get a job decided to go back to school," she said. "Some of our students are supporting families so they’re working people, and when there were full-time jobs that they could have, they went back to work. We think that has a lot to do with it. We’re seeing that happen at some other metropolitan universities in the region, even in the country."