The University of Texas-Pan American reached a record enrollment this fall semester with 15,889 students, and is ahead of schedule in the Closing the Gaps campaign - an initiative set up by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to ensure educational success for all students
"For the last three years, we've stepped up on our recruitment efforts, and we are now beginning to see the results of that," said Dennis McMillan, associate vice president for the Division of Enrollment and Student Services. "We have also improved our retention rate (for entering freshman) from 57 percent in 1999 to 67 percent this year."
Under the Closing the Gaps, THECB has set up projected enrollment figures for universities for the next 10 to 15 years. By the year 2015, UT Pan American is expected to enroll more than 26,000 students - a figure University officials said they could exceed.
"If our enrollment continues to grow the way we are seeing it now, I believe we will have well over 30,000 students by 2015," said Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo, provost/vice president for Academic Affairs.
Within the long-term goal, the Closing the Gaps campaign has also placed intermediate enrollment goals for universities each year, and UT Pan American is two or three years ahead of schedule.
In order to accommodate additional students, Arévalo said the University has made a few adjustments including the hiring of more faculty, and an increase in course section capacities that have equaled to more than 5,000 additional seats for students.
The University is already planning for a steady growth in enrollment for the following semesters.
"For next semester, we are asking departments to schedule more courses in the afternoon to provide easier accessibility to classrooms and help with the parking availability," Arévalo said.