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Official enrollment for fall 2009 increased by 4.6 percent at UTPA
Posted: 11/20/2009
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The official student enrollment at The University of Texas-Pan American for fall 2009 increased by 4.6 percent from last fall according to certified numbers released Nov. 18 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

UTPA enrollment for fall 2009 totaled 18,337 compared to fall 2008 when numbers reached 17,534. In the category of entering freshmen (full- and part-time), UTPA had an increase of 8.2 percent with 2,882 students in contrast to 2,663 in fall 2008.

"Increasing an enrollment by more than 800 students is pretty significant for any institution. For example our freshmen class increased by more than 200 students, which meant with that type of increase we had to add several additional classes (and instructors and professors) in several disciplines to meet their needs," said Dr. John Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services.

Edwards credited a more active and targeted recruitment-marketing program for the enrollment increase in addition to more high school and community college visits by UTPA recruiters in Admissions and New Student Services.

"This is a very positive step for the institution. We increased our entering freshmen enrollment during a fall enrollment when our admissions standards increased. We give great kudos to the South Texas high schools for preparing more students who are eligible for admissions to the university," Edwards said.

Another positive result of the jump in fall 2009 entering freshmen enrollment according to Edwards, was that fewer of these students were required to take developmental classes.

"Several years ago 42 percent of freshmen had to enroll in developmental classes at UTPA, and this fall only 25 percent required remediation," Edwards said. "Again a big thanks to our schools. With these types of numbers we can begin to shift less funding to developmental courses, and more to regular academic courses, plus upper-level and graduate work."

In addition, UTPA saw an increase in transfer students from 797 in fall 2008 to 923 students transferring to the campus in fall 2009 for a 15.8 percent surge. Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa, associate vice president and dean of admissions, said several factors played a roll in the transfer student rise, including the opening of the UTPA Transfer Center, which is located at Pecan Boulevard and 29th Street in McAllen.

"The creation of the Transfer Center across the street from South Texas College has allowed for convenient access to admissions and advising information. We have also stepped up our presence at community colleges in the Rio Grande Valley and around the state. In addition, the increase of Phi Theta Kappa scholarship money has also allowed us to recruit top transfer students from across the state," Hinojosa said. "We are very pleased with the final results and have been working since September to continue this momentum into 2010."

Hinojosa said enrollment goals for fall 2010 include increasing the entering freshmen class by 3,000 for a four percent increase and upping the transfer class numbers by 1,000 for an eight percent increase.

For undergraduate students, enrollment was up to 15,947 compared to 15,336 for a 4.0 percent growth while students enrolling in master's programs jumped from 2,086 in 2008 to 2,272 in 2009 for an 8.9 percent hike. As for doctoral students, the numbers showed a 5.4 percent jump of 118 students compared to 112 last fall.

Other notable statistics included the number of females and males enrolled at UTPA, which showed the women outnumbering the men with an enrollment of 10,471 versus 7,866.

In the breakdown of college enrollment, the College of Science and Engineering led the six colleges with 3,890 students followed by the College of Health Sciences and Human Services with 3,301. Other college numbers included the College of Arts and Humanities, 2,889; College of Business Administration, 2,888; College of Education, 2,872; and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2,497.

To learn more about Admissions and New Student Services at UTPA, visit http://www.utpa.edu/admissions.