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Following last year’s record-breaking fall enrollment, the University of Wyoming posted a decline in students this semester, according to a preliminary report released by the university Friday.

A count taken on the 15th day of class showed 12,928 students enrolled, the release said. That’s a decrease of 194 students — or 1.5 percent — from the fall 2012 semester.

The decrease was not due to a downsized incoming class, said Sara Axelson, vice president for student affairs. Incoming numbers were stable, she said. Last year’s freshman class was only three students greater than this year’s class.

Instead, Axelson said, the decline was largely due to a “settling out” of last year’s record-breaking numbers that reflected a number closer to normal.

“It’s so slight,” Axelson said of the decline. “If anything, we’re more stable.”

Though Axelson said the university had not yet conducted a full analysis of the student enrollment data, she said this year’s junior class appeared to be smaller than usual. Retention rates measuring how many students stay between their first and second years at UW declined from 76 percent to 74 percent this fall, she said.

“We know we need to maintain more freshmen to their sophomore year,” Axelson said.

The average high school grade-point average among incoming students increased this year, rising from 3.48 in fall 2012 to 3.67, the release said. UW’s international student enrollment increased for the sixth consecutive year, to 815 this fall. The number of new freshmen from Colorado increased by 15 students to 398, the release said.

Undergraduate enrollment at UW’s Outreach School decreased by 39 students to 1,555, while graduate and professional student enrollment there increased by 65 to 654 students. The Outreach School brings UW programs and services to students outside of Laramie.

End-of-semester head counts have increased every year since the 2007-08 school year, according to reports published by the UW Office of Institutional Analysis. After all UW Outreach School enrollments are counted by the end of the fall 2013 semester, UW’s total enrollment should total nearly 14,000, Axelson said.

The 15th-class-day enrollment count is used to generate initial figures because it falls after the deadline to drop or add a class, and after the first tuition and fee payment is due.

Reach education reporter Leah Todd at 307-266-0592 or leah.todd@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @leahktodd.

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