The University of Texas-Pan American had a record enrollment this semester, jumping 5.13 percent from last year, while the University continues to attract higher caliber students.
Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Rodolfo Arévalo credits the growth, in part, to articulation agreements with community colleges, including South Texas Community College, Coastal Bend College, and Texas State Technical College. This fall, UTPA had a 12.7 percent (164 students) boost in community college transfer students.
"The University has been actively recruiting students from local high schools and developing articulation agreements with community colleges to ensure that students have the best information about how to seek admission to the University," Arévalo said. "It is clear that our efforts have been successful and that more students see The University of Texas-Pan American as the institution of first choice."
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services John A. Edwards said UTPA's efforts with local school districts to increase the number of students who enroll in more rigorous high school coursework paid off in helping keep last year's students and with the overall enrollment increase.
UTPA's entering full-time freshmen retention rate has grown from 54.9 percent in 2000 to 64.9 percent in fall 2002.
"This is a remarkable increase in retention over a two-year period. It speaks to the positive affects the University has had on improving the quality of entering freshmen," Edwards said. "Many more of our students in South Texas are being well-prepared by enrolling in the Recommended High School program (RHSP); but also many more students are taking concurrent courses, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses while in high school."
Edwards said the University's "Success Strategies" - which are designed to assist students, mostly freshmen, in adjusting to University life and their curricular endeavors has also played an important role in the enrollment boost.
"These efforts are producing positive results; the academic division has greatly improved the course offerings for our students." Edwards said. "More courses and sections enable our students - many of whom are also working at least part-time - to "build" a class schedule which fits with their work and family responsibilities."
The growth is part of an overall growth reported by the UT System among all of its academic institutions, except for UT Austin, which has an enrollment cap.
"While the increase in enrollment is a good effort, we will need to continue these efforts, and improve, in order to meet the ambitious goals of Closing the Gap - the state wide effort to enroll 500,000 More Texans in higher education by 2015," said Edwards.