The University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau has the largest freshman class in its history, officials said this week.
Fall semester at the Auke Lake campus began Tuesday.
Late Tuesday afternoon, there were 656 full-time undergraduates, up 10 percent from last year. The total number of students was up nearly 12 percent, to 2,031.
In the first few weeks of the semester, the number of full-time undergrads is expected to climb to more than 700 - the Juneau campus' record high - as new students register and others move from waiting lists into classes.
Full-time students take at least 12 credit hours, or about four courses, a semester.
"We've added a lot of new faculty and 11 new degree and certificate programs in the past two years," said Chancellor John Pugh in a statement.
"I think we just have a lot more to offer students and the word is getting out. If we can continue this momentum, I think we'll continue to see growth in students and that means more highly qualified graduates to compete for Alaskan jobs."
The new offerings are one-year certificate programs in automotive technology, community wellness advocacy, pre-nursing qualification, health information management privacy and residential building science; bachelor's degree programs in English, social science, information systems, mathematics and marine biology; and an associate's degree in health sciences.
"We are attracting more traditional-aged students from Alaska and the Lower 48, which I think is great for the university and great for the city of Juneau," UAS Dean of Students Paul Kraft said in a statement. "I love to see the energy and enthusiasm these students bring with them. That can't help but spill over into the community."
About 60 percent of the students polled during this fall's orientation were from Alaska, and about half of the Alaskans were from Southeast.
California was the Outside state most represented, with about 15 students. But other students came from Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Virginia, Colorado and other countries, such as Finland, Japan and Hungary.
Most of the students from outside the state listed Juneau's natural environment as one of the biggest factors in choosing UAS. They also liked that UAS incorporates its environment into its curriculum.
Many others listed the reputation of UAS academic programs as a key factor and the small class sizes and small-school atmosphere, officials said.
Eric Fry can be reached at email@example.com.
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