COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO — A record number of first-time freshmen lead CU-Colorado Springs to its highest-ever enrollment, according to official enrollment figures released this week.

A total of 910 first-time freshmen enrolled for the fall semester, boosting total enrollment to 7,407, an 8.4 percent increase from fall 2001 when 6,835 students enrolled. Freshman enrollment was 793 in 2001 and 425 in 1995. Since 1995, total enrollment has increased more than 20 percent, making CU-Colorado Springs one of the fastest growing universities in the nation.

Steve Ekerholm, director, Enrollment Management, released the figures following the Sept. 12 official census.

“This is an impressive increase that could not have happened without the cooperation of everyone on campus,” Randy Kouba, vice chancellor, Student Success, said. “We are greatly appreciative of all of the staff and faculty who worked so hard to accommodate this huge increase.

Additionally, Kouba believes this year’s freshmen are the best qualified in the university’s history based upon overall academic preparation.

“It is important for the university to grow,” Kouba said. “But our stated goal is to grow responsibly. We are increasing the quality of students who attend this university as well as the number of highly-qualified students.”

Of importance to many is an increase in the number of credit hours generated on campus. In addition to more students, students are taking more courses. This fall, the average credit hour load per student is 11.05 hours. Generally, an undergraduate student is considered full-time when enrolling in 12 credit hours.

As a result of more students enrolling in more courses, student credit hours on campus increased to 81,868, an 11.1 percent increase from fall 2001 when students enrolled in 73,660 hours.

Credit hours increased in all six colleges at CU-Colorado Springs. With a 37.5 percent increase, the Graduate School of Public Affairs had the largest percentage increase followed by the Beth-El College of Nursing (19.2 percent), the College of Education (13.9 percent), the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (13.2 percent), Engineering and Applied Science (5.5 percent) and the College of Business (1.8 percent).

CU-Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in northeast Colorado Springs, is the fastest growing university in Colorado and one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The university offers 25 bachelor’s degrees, 17 master’s and two doctoral degrees. The campus enrolls about 7,000 students annually.