Enrollment reaches record numbers at UTPA, tops 19,000 students
By Roxanne Lerma Casares, Staff Writer
(956) 665-2741
Posted: 10/31/2011
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Enrollment at The University of Texas-Pan American has reached its highest level with over 19,000 students now attending the institution. UTPA is well on track to succeed 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.

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UTPA's student enrollment has reached its highest level, over 19,000 students, for the Fall 2011 semester.

THECB released preliminary enrollment figures for the fall 2011 semester Oct. 27. The data shows this year's UTPA enrollment is 19,041 students, up 297 students from the official fall 2010 figure. That is a notable increase of 1.58 percent.

“The institution has grown 40 percent in ten years. This significant increase is a direct reflection of our mission to serve the growing population of the Rio Grande Valley,” said Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa, UTPA’s senior associate vice president for enrollment services.

The largest growth trends at UTPA were in new transfers and entering freshmen. Hinojosa credits the surge on active marketing and a strong recruitment campaign.

“Our combined recruitment efforts with the two largest GEAR UP grants in the country definitely contributed to the growth in entering freshmen. We’re also seeing a 1.5 percent increase in our first-year retention rates which means that we had an increase in the number of students continuing from one year to the next,” Hinojosa said. “The divisions of academic affairs and student affairs worked closely together in creating a schedule that would meet the course needs and demands of students.”

According to Hinojosa, the nation’s slow-moving financial system and a tighter job market also attributed to the growth. She says people strive to get a higher education to combat the economic turmoil.

“There are environmental factors that contribute, such as the sluggish economy. Individuals displaced from their jobs tend to focus on education as a means of refining current skills or developing new ones,” she said.

The increase in the number of students puts the University firmly on path to meet its target enrollment in the next few years.

“This is a stepping stone in hitting our Closing the Gaps goal of 22,000 by 2015,” Hinojosa said.

Overall in Texas, more minority and community college students are seeking a higher education, a trend that helped the state’s enrollment grow about 4.3 percent to approximately 1.5 million this fall, according to the unofficial figures released by the THECB.

The THECB is in the process of certifying those enrollments. Final data will be available in December.

If you are interested in enrolling at UTPA, visit the Admissions and New Student Services' website.