More university students are in Denton this fall than ever before.
Both the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University have record fall enrollment, according to preliminary data. This year, there are 37,231 students at UNT and 12,557 at TWU.
From 2013 to 2014, enrollment slightly dropped at both university campuses. Now, enrollment is higher than 2013 numbers for TWU and UNT.
Earlier this year, UNT officials named the university’s first vice president of enrollment to oversee attracting and retaining students. Shannon Goodman, the first to hold the position, said that because of initiatives UNT President Neal Smatresk started a year and a half ago, the university is now seeing the benefits.
“I think what you see is a series of improvements and efforts that led to the overall growth,” Goodman said.
“One of the things that works really well here is the campus works collaboratively together.”
There’s been more strategic efforts to attract freshmen, like giving Oklahoma residents in-state tuition and bonuses for signing up for a new fixed-tuition plan.
Now, the freshman class is 6.6 percent larger than last year’s with 4,663 students, there are almost 10 percent more Hispanic students (7,764) and graduate student enrollment is up 16.3 percent with 5,731 master’s and doctorate students on campus.
Certain colleges at UNT also saw big gains in enrollment, such as the College of Information growing 28.6 percent and the College of Engineering up 22 percent. Goodman said the colleges had an active role in recruiting and were prepared for more students with additional courses and professors.
The freshmen class also grew significantly at TWU, up 12 percent from last year to 2,309 first-year students now.
Gary Ray, vice president of enrollment services, said the data that stands out most to him is new students are up 6.2 percent on campus, which encompasses 4,288 freshmen and new transfer students, and retention of first-year students is up to 76.9 percent, the highest it has been in 25 years.
This means of the 1,153 freshmen who started at TWU last fall, 887 are back for their second year.
“We’ve been working on this for several years, and [enrollment] is a high priority for TWU,” Ray said. “When we stay focused on that, usually good things happen in our retention numbers.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.