Three local universities have dramatically different freshmen classes

ABILENE, Texas - Three Abilene universities have three very different stories to tell about enrollment this year. Two universities had big increases, while a third saw a dramatic drop in incoming freshmen.

ACU officials announced they're welcoming the fourth largest freshmen class in their history, an 8 percent gain in students as they welcoming 1,030 new freshmen, but there's possibly a more impressive milestone.  This year marks the largest percentage of returning freshmen, as some 80 percent are coming back for their sophomore years.

Meanwhile, just down Ambler Avenue, Hardin-Simmons is celebrating as well. The Baptist university is welcoming over 550 freshmen.  And, that's a 5 percent increase over the fall 2012 semester.

The news at McMurry University is not as welcome. The freshmen class is 14 percent smaller than last year with 250 new freshmen on campus. With recent changes at the university, McMurry officials said the number is higher than their goal for the year.

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