The University of Texas-Pan American has seen a significant increase in summer enrollment this year, which administrators predict could translate to UTPA's highest figures ever for the upcoming Fall 2010 semester.
Summer I enrollment numbers at UTPA increased by nearly 18 percent and semester credit hours jumped to 35.5 percent, according to unofficial numbers released by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.
First summer session tallies show an enrollment of 10,000 for 2010 compared to the summer I 2009 total of 8,501. UTPA also saw a surge in the number of semester credit hours to 55,132, compared to last year's 40,683 taken by students.
Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa, associate vice president and dean of admissions, attributes the growth in enrollment and semester credit hours to several factors, including the changes in the Federal Pell Grant Program, the impact of Gear Up grants on concurrent enrollment, and the economy.
"This is the first summer that current students who have exhausted their Pell grant during the fall/spring semester are eligible for additional funds in the summer. The number of students receiving summer Pell has significantly increased and students who would traditionally work full-time or limit the number of classes taken in the summer are now able to take courses and/or increase their load due to the additional funds," Hinojosa said.
According to Elaine L. Rivera, executive director of Student Financial Services, the number of Pell grant awards to UTPA was "dramatic."
"In summer 2009, there were 1,381 Pell grant awards for Summer I, totaling $1,031,946 and 593 awards for Summer II totaling $593,249. This summer 2010, there were 5,200 Pell grant awards for Summer I totaling over $5.6 million and approximately 3,900 awards for Summer II totaling around $3.8 million," Rivera said.
Thanks to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Pell grant increased from $4,731 to $5,350 for the 2009-10 school year and $5,550 for 2010-11.
Hinojosa said the number of UTPA and Region I GEAR UP students enrolled in the Concurrent Enrollment (CE) program also added to the summer I increase by 919 students.
Dennis McMillan, associate vice president for Enrollment and Student Services, said without the GEAR UP cohort enrolled in the first summer session, the numbers would have ranged from 400-450 CE students.
"For summer II we already have 479 enrolled, with a few more left to register before the session starts next week. Last year we had 315 CE students in summer II," McMillan said.
In addition to the Concurrent Enrollment increase, Hinojosa said the number of new transfer students enrolled at UTPA has increased by 38 percent for summer I.
"The access brought by the Transfer Center located across from South Texas College and the addition of new transfer recruitment programs have played a role in this increase," Hinojosa said.
With the second summer session starting July 14, unofficial figures are showing a more than 20 percent increase in enrollment according to OIRE.
Numbers for the fall session, which starts Aug. 30, are still being counted as students continue to register, but are expected to be higher than the 2009 total of 18,337.