TWU enrollment up; UNT sees slight drop

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The enrollment trends that Texas Woman's University and the University of North Texas saw in the fall semester carried some residual effects into the spring.

TWU saw its enrollment increase by 2.7 percent over last spring, while UNT's enrollment declined by 1.9 percent.

These numbers are unofficial until the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board verifies them later in the semester.

TWU enrolled 14,028 students for the spring semester.

The Denton campus enrollment increased to 11,336 students, up 2.6 percent from last spring.

TWU's other campuses include the T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas Center (1,384) and the Institute of Health Sciences-Houston Center (1,308).

Richard Nicholas, vice president of student life at TWU, said the increase was part of a continuing growth trend the university has experienced over recent years.

"And the fall growth we experienced has been retained to spring," he said.

In the fall, TWU grew by 4 percent over the previous year, with 14,740 students enrolled.

Universities commonly experience a decrease in enrollment from fall to spring.

For the spring semester, TWU doesn't gain a large number of new students, Nicholas said, but the university usually gains transfer students.

This semester, TWU gained 746 transfer students, he said, which is 14 more than this time last year.

"It isn't new students who created growth," Nicholas said. "It's fall enrollment, which went up, creating the same effect for spring."

TWU has been attracting more students in the fall semester and retaining more students in the spring, he said.

Enrollment is important for universities because their state funding is determined by total semester hours.

TWU's total semester credit hours increased 2.8 percent from last spring, with students enrolled in 136,870 hours.

At UNT, the number of students declined 1.9 percent, from 34,155 students in spring 2011 to 33,505 students in spring 2012.

"The decline is fairly confined to the part-time graduate student enrollment," said Troy Johnson, vice provost of enrollment at UNT. The decline, he said, was mainly among students in education-related programs because of the decline in the number of jobs in those fields.

UNT also saw a slight decline in the fall, Johnson said, and what happened in the fall tends to trickle over into the spring semester. UNT is seeing more students graduate each semester than in previous years, and new rules about financial aid eligibility are affecting growth, he said.

More than 70 percent of students receive financial aid and scholarships, Johnson said.

Also, UNT is tracking students who didn't enroll in the spring semester because of Texas' new law requiring a meningitis vaccine for all new and transfer students, he said.

But the bright spot for UNT is that full-time enrollment is up, which helps the university in its quest to become a Tier 1 research institution, Johnson said.

The number of full-time students increased by 97 from last spring, and the number of doctoral students also rose.

This is a step in the right direction, Johnson said, because a higher number of full-time students is an asset for a research university.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is rmehlhaff@dentonrc.com .

 

 


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