By Megan Wilson:

The University of Arkansas broke multiple enrollment records during the 2018-2019 school year, according to enrollment data.

Preliminary enrollment shows 27,778 UA students, an increase of 220 from fall 2017, according to the UA website.

The freshman class includes 2,507 students from Arkansas, another record, making freshman enrollment 5,019, according to the website.

The university set a diversity record with 20 percent minority students, with African-American and Hispanic students comprising the two largest minorities, according to the website.

Lynn Mosesso, director of Graduate and International Recruitment and Admissions, reported 1,433 international students from 115 countries.

The Multicultural Center has “different activities to educate the campus community about specific cultural groups and [they] engage student learning through games, presentation and conversation” said Brande Flack, director of Retention Programs at the Multicultural Center.

Suzanne McCray, vice chancellor of Enrollment, said her department has been making efforts to reach and recruit students across the state. College recruiters want to go where the students are, McCray said, but some high schools don’t let recruiters visit classrooms.

“There are some schools in the state that don’t allow you to come in to the school. There we’ll do a coffee chat in the community,” she said.

She said the university wants to be the university for the entire state and to do that they have to meet people where they are and take them information about the school.

Providing access to the flagship institution to students across the state is “a very important part of our mission,” McCray said.

“Being out there, being in the schools, letting students know you care and that they’ll find community on our campus, I think that’s incredibly important,” McCray said.

Many students from the university are from small towns in Arkansas and they need to be able to feel like the UofA is a home away from home, McCray said.

“It’s a combination of bringing the information to them and the excitement of going to college and the possibility of them going to the university,” she said. “Then getting them on campus so they can see if this a good fit for them.”

There have been initiatives to bring underrepresented students to the university by offering scholarships.

“In order to diversify a Predominantly White Institution like the UofA, we must work actively to recruit and support students of racial minority status,” Flack said. “Providing scholarships is one way to assist with the college expenses while fully investing in the diversity we value on our campus.”