Outreach pays off for diverse enrollment


As enrollment at Northern Arizona University continues to swell, an increase in Latino and international students is part of the wave.

Enrollment for Latino students grew from 2,908 students in fall 2008 to 3,271 students in fall 2009, a 12 percent jump. The number of international students jumped 13 percent, from 506 students in fall 2008 to 573 students in fall 2009.

David Camacho, associate vice president of diversity for NAU, acknowledges Arizona’s growing Latino population as influencing the university’s increased diverse enrollment, but also credits NAU’s improved outreach to diverse populations.

“We are making efforts to reach the Latino population in the state earlier than ever before,” he said. “We are working to promote the overall value of a higher education and have stepped up our outreach to connect with parents and to engage students in a variety of ways.”

Other ethnic enrollment trends include nearly a 10 percent boost in African American students, from 723 students in fall 2008 to 795 students in fall 2009, and the number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Island students rose 78.5 percent, with 28 students in fall 2008 to 50 students in fall 2009.

“A diverse student body enriches the academic milieu and significantly enhances the academic experience of all students,” said Harvey Charles, vice provost for the Center for International Education.

In an effort to recruit and attract international students, the Center for International Education has streamlined its recruitment, admissions and immigration processes.

“This streamlining is having a positive impact on our newly enrolled student numbers and last year positively impacted new international student enrollment,” Charles said. “We also have signed new agreements in with universities in China and Malaysia to attract additional international transfer students, and we are collaborating with organizations such as the Kuwaiti Cultural Mission, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission and private companies to sponsor students to study in the United States.”

The center also has developed an extensive communication plan to attract prospective students. A new international web site includes easier application procedures, student profiles and videos of the NAU experience.

International students also are learning about NAU through Facebook, video conferencing with the Department of State Education offices, and the university is conducting live information sessions with prospective students in countries such as Kuwait, India and Taiwan.