Arkansas Tech University in Russellville on Friday reported a preliminary 11th day enrollment of 12,003 students for the fall 2014 semester, a 5.6 percent increase over fall 2013.

Arkansas Tech University in Russellville on Friday reported a preliminary 11th day enrollment of 12,003 students for the fall 2014 semester, a 5.6 percent increase over fall 2013.


With the increase, Arkansas Tech has surpassed the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Central Arkansas to become the third-largest institution of higher learning Arkansas, according to an ATU news release.


Only the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Arkansas State University have larger enrollments among state colleges and universities, the release states.


"Today marks a significant milestone in the history of Arkansas Tech University," stated ATU President Robin E. Bowen. "The fact that in one decade we have grown from the sixth-largest university in our state to become one of the three largest is a testament to the quality of our academic programs and our institutional commitment to serve a diverse community of learners. This achievement is a point of pride for each member of the Arkansas Tech family."


Enrollment has increased by 183 percent since 1997.


The growth in fall 2014 is bolstered by the largest freshman class in ATU history, with 1,684 incoming freshmen. The previous record for largest freshman class was 1,572 students in fall 2011.


When the first-time students from Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus are included in the count, there are 1,951 freshmen enrolled at ATU.