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SUNO Reaches 94 Percent of Pre-Katrina Enrollment

NEW ORLEANS — Updated spring enrollment figures show Southern University at New Orleans has reached about 94 percent of its pre-Katrina enrollment.

SUNO officials say the official enrollment total as of this week was 3,429, compared to enrollment of 3,647 before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

The latest figures were released this week after the Friday deadline for spring tuition payments. The final tally was down from preliminary figures in January that had indicated SUNO would reach 99 percent of pre-Katrina enrollment.

Enrollment growth comes despite lingering scars from the 2005 storm. Temporary buildings are still in use while repairs continue at the library and other structures at the university.

And there also was political turmoil last year, stirred by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to merge historically Black SUNO with the nearby University of New Orleans.

That proposal drew strong objections from university officials, alumni and various local government officials in New Orleans. It was ultimately rejected by the Legislature.

SUNO President Victor Ukpolo said he credits aggressive recruitment efforts and good relations with local high schools for the school’s continued growth. SUNO works with counselors and teachers to help better prepare students for college, and helps prepare students for college entrance exams.

“We send our faculty there to help students learn how to take the tests and tell them what they need to prepare for,” Ukpolo said Monday. Some of those students wind up enrolling at SUNO, he said.

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