LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Officials with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have announced steady enrollment numbers for the 2012 fall semester, even though the university implemented higher admissions standards.

16,687 students are currently enrolled at UL; that's down just 198 from the 16,885 students who were enrolled a year earlier. Dr. DeWayne Bowie, vice president for Enrollment Management, says the "decline was less than projected."

"While our freshman class is a little smaller than last year, this class represents the most academically talented class that we have ever enrolled," Bowie says.

87 high school valedictorians are members of the current freshman class. The class has an average grade-point-average of 3.3 and an average ACT score of 23, Bowie says. Enrollment in the university's honors program is also up 15 percent.

Bowie attributes the steady numbers to a number of things, including new degree programs.