POSTED: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 7:36pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — After years of a shrinking student body, Southern University has something to brag about this semester.
This year, the University has seen a thirty percent increase in freshmen and even an uptick in overall enrollment.
This is huge news for the University. Last fall, the freshman class had 743 students. This semester, there are more than 1,115 new students coming in to the University.
Chancellor James Llorens says this means the University is finally doing something right and the students agree.
“If it keeps going the way it is, then Southern has a bright future," noted Southern student, Brandon Smith.
Smith says he's excited Southern is finally seeing a boost in enrollment and he can’t wait to see what the future holds.
"Last year there weren’t as many kids as there are now,” noted Smith. “There are a lot of people on campus but it's interesting, though, I like it. There are more things to do now."
This surge in interest isn't a fluke. Staff at Southern have worked hard to try and turn things around for the University.
"We brought on student ambassadors, we used text messages and made an effort in the spring into the summer. [We wanted them to know] that we are in fact interested in them and they had choices," said Southern Chancellor, James Llorens.
The recruiting efforts in other states, mainly Texas, have proven to be successful. Southern admission officials say if they didn't start seeing an increase soon, things weren’t looking good.
"When you face budget reductions and enrollment reductions it’s a double whammy for you in terms of how to meet your needs," noted Llorens.
Freshmen even see that the University is changing. Older students say it's a special place, and now people are finally starting to see why.
"It's great that we're going up,” said Junior, Isadore Lanore. “It's a very good school. We're very home. It’s a very close environment, we learn great stuff. So I am happy that more freshmen are starting to see and hopefully we improve each year."
So now a University that has been struggling to grow is finally starting to attract students. Southern is ready to move past its hurdles.
"It's a competitive environment for college education, students have choices and now we’ve demonstrated that we can compete," stated Llorens.
Southern is currently reviewing where these students are coming from geographically.
The school's first home-game is on Saturday, and leaders are expecting one of the biggest turnouts they've ever had, especially with the new large freshman class.