The statewide remediation rate for Arkansas college and university students in the fall of 2011 fell below 50 percent for the first time since 1993, according to a report presented to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board Thursday at its regular quarterly meeting held at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The statewide remediation rate for Arkansas college and university students in the fall of 2011 fell below 50 percent for the first time since 1993, according to a report presented to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board Thursday at its regular quarterly meeting held at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The 2011 fall term rate of 49.3 percent is only surpassed by the 48.5 percent rate achieved in the fall term of 1993 and is 3.3 percentage points better that the 2010 fall term remediation rate of 52.6 percent, according to figures presented by Arkansas Department of Higher Education Associate Director Rick Jenkins.

“This drop is very good,” said Jenkins.”If you look at the number out of context then people may say ‘well you’ve got almost half of your students in need of remediation,’ but if you see this year’s number in the context that we have been over 50 percent every year since academic year 1994, this is good news.”

Broken down by race, the remediation numbers show the lowest remediation rates for Asian students, with an overall rate of 35.9 percent, broken down to 26.5 percent for four year university attendees and 75.8 percent for two year college students.

The highest remediation rate in the state was for blacks, with an overall rate of 80.2 percent, with 70.8 percent of four year university attendees and 92.9 percent of two year college attendees in that racial category in need of remediation.

Whites had an overall remediation rate of 39.7 percent, with 23.8 percent of white four year university students and 69 percent of two year college attendees in need of remedial course work.

Broken down by gender, the study showed that the numbers were roughly equal with slightly more women than men in need of remedial course work upon entrance into an institution of higher education.

At four year universities 35.1 percent of women and 33.9 percent of men needed remediation, while at two year colleges 76.7 percent of women and 73.8 percent of men needed remedial help, for a combined total of 50.8 percent of women and 47.6 percent of men.

Jenkins also presented a report on enrollment for the fall 2011 term.

Total enrollment in all Arkansas institutions of higher learning for fall 2011 came to 175,977 students, a 2.1 percent increase over the fall 2010 enrollment figure of 172,392.

“While we had an enrollment increase of 2.1 percent over the previous year, this is less than the 4.6 percent increase we had between fall 2009 and fall 2010,” Jenkins said.

Total enrollment for the fall of 2009 was 164,818 according to figures provided by Jenkins.

Enrollment figures for local schools showed 2,899 students at UAPB and 1,397 students at Southeast Arkansas College.

The board also heard ADHE Senior Associate Director Jackie M. Holloway present the Annual Financial Condition Report.

Figures provided by Holloway showed that UAPB experienced a 13 percent five year tuition increase between the 2006-07 and the 2010-2011 academic years for an average increase of 2.6 percent per year.

UAPB’s tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year was $5,033 and $5,330 for the 2011-2012 academic year, for a one year increase of 5.9 percent.

SEARK had a 61 percent five year tuition increase between the 2006-2007 and the 2010-2011 academic years, for an average increase of 12.2 percent per year.

SEARK’s tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year was $2,770 and $2,830 for the 2011-2012 academic year, for a one year increase of 2.2 percent.

“With declining state support and increased enrollments, institutions have implemented several cost saving initiatives in order to help keep tuition and fees increases at a minimum,” Holloway said. “Even with these cost saving measures four-year institutions and two-year colleges found it necessary to increase tuition on average by 5.5 and 5.6 percent respectively for fiscal year 2011-12.”