LSU Shatters Records with Fall Enrollment, Retention Rates at an All-Time High


Record Breakers

LSU celebrates enrollment growth, diversity and retention and graduation rates

BATON ROUGE – For the third-straight year, LSU has broken the record for the largest and most diverse freshman class in university history. This year’s 6,690 freshmen enrolled surpasses last year’s record of 6,126 freshmen. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, overall enrollment at LSU is at an all-time high of 34,290, and the university also saw high marks for retention and graduation rates.

“Setting new records for enrollment, retention and graduation rates would be an exceptional achievement during any academic year, but it’s an incredible accomplishment during this year of a pandemic. These outstanding gains speak to the great strength and reputation of LSU, and they are testament to the fantastic work of our talented faculty and staff whose dedication to student success is inspirational,” said LSU Interim President Tom Galligan.

With a record-breaking 6,690 full-time freshman enrolled, diversity of the class is also at an all-time high. The freshman class is made up of 16.8 percent Black students, topping the 15.8 percent of Black students in the 2018 class. Hispanic students in the freshman class is also a record high of 9.1 percent for the 2020, exceeding the 8.1 percent in the 2019 class. Students who identify as either American Indian, Black, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic, and two or more races make up more than 30 percent of the total freshman class this year.

“At a time when other schools are scrambling for enrollment and in particular students of color, we are breaking records on both fronts,” said Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Dereck J. Rovaris Sr. “The record number of historically underrepresented students is indeed a reflection of the good work so many have done to make LSU a more inclusive university. Credit for these increases is due to the way in which we are transforming our campus into a place where students whose parents did not feel welcome when they were college students are now entrusting their young people to us. This is truly a great day for LSU and for diversity and inclusion.”

In the last 10 years, LSU has seen overall enrollment of Black students increase 87 percent to 5,028 and Hispanic student enrollment increase 130 percent to 2,490.

“As Louisiana’s flagship university, diversity is fundamental to our mission and we are honored to serve a growing number of traditionally underrepresented students. Our efforts to further diversify our student population will continue, while we also work on taking action to foster an even more inclusive and equitable campus environment in which every LSU student feels welcomed and valued on our campus,” Galligan said.  

With the growth of the freshman class, the quality of student entering LSU has not wavered. The GPA for the freshman class is an all-time high close to 3.5, and the ACT has remained steady when compared to previous classes at over 25.

“Students and their families are clearly responding to the quality of the academic experience at LSU driven by our phenomenal faculty,” said LSU Executive Vice President & Provost Stacia Haynie. “Equally important, we are focused on the success of every student who calls LSU home. With these record breaking retainment and graduation numbers, we are seeing that when our students complete their degrees, their success in starting salaries and mid-career earnings have placed LSU among the top of the SEC and above the national average.”

LSU’s Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College is seeing record-breaking numbers as well, with freshman enrollment exceeding 800 students for the first time in the college’s history. The freshman honors class also has an average ACT of 32 and average GPA of 3.81 – both new records as well.

LSU continues to retain students at record rates. First-to-second-year retention is at a record high of 85.8 percent, while first-to-third-year retention is also up from last year to 74.8 percent.

“We have expanded our recruiting footprint throughout Louisiana and to more of the country, and our message is being received by parents and students nationwide that LSU is a flagship university that is second to none,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Jose Aviles. “However, our work doesn’t end once we get a student onto campus. Our faculty and staff provide students with the tools and methods to be successful in finishing their studies and earning an LSU degree.”

LSU is also seeing high marks in baccalaureate graduation rates. The six-year baccalaureate graduation rate (not including students who successfully complete a transfer preparatory program such as pre-nursing and pre-allied health) for freshman entering LSU in 2014 is 65.7 percent, the second highest in LSU history. In addition, the five-year baccalaureate rate for freshman entering in 2015 is 61.9 percent, the second highest five-year rate in LSU history.

When looking at all LSU campuses across the state, enrollment numbers are up across the board at LSU, LSU of Alexandria, LSU Eunice and LSU Shreveport.

Records broken by the 2020 LSU student body:

  • Total enrollment of 34,290
  • Freshman enrollment of 6,690
    • Black freshman enrollment of 16.8 percent
    • Hispanic freshman enrollment of 9.1 percent
    • GPA for the freshman class of 3.45
  • Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College exceeds 800 new freshman for the first time ever
  • Ogden Honors College freshman average ACT of 32 and GPA of 3.81
  • First-to-second-year retention of 85.8 percent
  • First-to-third-year retention of 74.8 percent.

Near records for 2020 LSU student body:

  • Six-year baccalaureate graduation rate for freshman entering LSU in 2014 is 65.7 percent
  • Five-year baccalaureate rate for freshman entering in 2015 is 61.9 percent
  • Average ACT of freshman class of 25.4
    Contact Ernie Ballard
    LSU Media Relations