Both the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University had record enrollment numbers this fall, with officials at both schools hoping the increase in students means an increase in retention.
UNT has 37,973 students this fall at its Denton and Frisco campuses, a 2 percent increase over last year’s total enrollment of 37,231.
TWU’s Denton campus swelled to 12,917 students, a 2.8 percent increase over last year’s total enrollment of 12,557. Between the three campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston, TWU now has 15,665 students in classes, up 2.3 percent from last year’s total of 15,303.
“We hope what it means is there’s a greater focus on TWU and a greater recognition that TWU plays an important role in the market, particularly in North Texas,” said Barbara Lerner, interim vice president for enrollment services.
UNT officials hope the same for their university’s brand and believe the increase reflects a growing interest in the school because of its reputation, said Shannon Goodman, vice president for enrollment.
Both schools also had freshman applications way up this year, allowing the enrollment to grow: TWU’s applications were up by 15 percent, and UNT’s were up 5.5 percent.
This allowed the schools to be slightly more selective with the incoming class, picking students who they think will help raise retention rates and who are prepared for the college workload.
“For us, it’s important to bring in the right students, get them through in the proper pace and get them out the other side so they can be successful,” Goodman said.
At both campuses, efforts are underway to try to keep the students who are here now enrolled in classes. UNT has added more mandatory advising sessions, while TWU President Carine Feyten and interim Provost Jennifer Martin visited every freshman class to encourage the new students to not be discouraged at the start of the semester.
“I think what students saw was a bit of, ‘Wow, they really do care about what we’re going to do,’” Lerner said. “I think when we first proposed this idea, Dr. Feyten probably wasn’t aware she was committing to quite so many classes, but she or Dr. Martin did them all, and the response from students was just remarkable.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.