LITTLE ROCK — More part-time students were enrolled in the state's two-year colleges in Arkansas last fall than full-time students, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Higher Education.

LITTLE ROCK — More part-time students were enrolled in the state’s two-year colleges in Arkansas last fall than full-time students, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Higher Education.

Shane Broadway, interim Higher Education director, said he believes it is the first time that the number of part-time students at two-year colleges has outnumbered full-time students.

“We talked about that the other day and I think it is,” Broadway said in an interview. “It’s always been pretty close, but I think it’s the first time that it has gone above 50 percent for part-time (students) at two-year-schools.”

Overall, the number of students enrolled at all colleges and universities — public and private — in Arkansas in the fall rose 2.1 percent from the fall of 2010, the department said. In the fall of 2010 there was a 5 percent increase from the previous year.

“It slowed down a little, and what observers who have been around for years and years will tell you is that a lot of that is dictated by the economy,” Broadway said. “When the economy is down more people enroll in college, so hopefully that number (from the fall) is a sign that the economy is improving,” Broadway said. “It would be anecdotal to say it, but hopefully a part of why enrollment wasn’t as high this year compared to last year is that students are finding work, or graduating and finding work and not coming back to graduate school.”

In the fall, 50.9 percent of the students enrolled in two-year colleges were part-time. At the four-year schools, 70.7 percent of students were full-time and 29.3 percent were part-time.

Of the 175,997 students who enrolled in college in the fall, 54.8 percent enrolled at public universities, 35.3 attended two-year public colleges and 9.9 percent attended private colleges and universities.

Since the fall of 2007, the number of college students enrolled in Arkansas has risen 17.3 percent.

Broadway attributed the increase to enactment of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship and the state programs instituted to get more students into college.

The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville led all four-year universities with an 8.1 percent increase in student enrollment in the 2010-2011 calendar year. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro was second with 8 percent and Arkansas Tech University in Russellville was third with a 7.9 percent increase.

Ozarka College in Melbourne led all two-year colleges with a 14.1 percent increase in student enrollment in 2010-2011. Black River Technical College in Paragould was second with 9.2 percent and Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden was third with a 5.6 percent increase in student enrollment.

At state universities, 56.8 percent of those enrolled in the fall were women and 43.2 percent were men. At two-year colleges, 63.2 percent were women and 36.8 percent were men.