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College growth good news

You may have noticed a bit more traffic on Interstate 35E and around our local communities this month.

A bit of that additional traffic could be linked to the increased enrollment at our two state universities — Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas — as well as the Denton County campuses of North Central Texas College just down the interstate in Corinth and Flower Mound.

Enrollment figures released this week show a 2.7 percent increase in the number of students at TWU’s campuses — some 15,135 students enrolled this semester. The number includes TWU’s largest freshman class in the university’s history — up some 13.5 percent over last year. Other factors are the university’s strong retention rate and an increase in transfers.

In fact, the campus enrollment is ahead of schedule to meet the statewide Closing the Gaps goal to increase the number of students enrolled in higher learning institutions. TWU’s goal is 15,417.

“We’re running about two years ahead of reaching our goal,” says Richard Nicholas, TWU’s vice president for student life.

At UNT, the enrollment of 35,836 students for this fall semester also made history with its freshman class. With growth of 9.2 percent over fall 2011, with 4,444 students, it’s the largest freshman class in the university’s history, according to Troy Johnson, UNT’s vice provost for enrollment.

He attributes the growth to what the university offers in student experience, the new Apogee Stadium and Business Leadership Program, as well as other new facilities.

At NCTC, the Corinth campus is bursting at the seams. The college hit the 10,000-student mark this semester with a record-setting 10,175 students at all of its campuses — a 2.6 percent increase. The Corinth campus enrollment rose to 5,870 students, maxing out capacity at the facility, according to Billy Roessler, vice president of student services at NCTC.

In Flower Mound, at NCTC’s newest campus, officials saw a 28.1 percent growth with 1,624 students enrolled.

It is great news for Denton and Denton County to see such growth in students seeking higher educational opportunities. It bodes well for the future of our region as students continue to flock to our institutions of higher learning.

It also says a lot for what UNT, TWU and NCTC have to offer — significant opportunities for expanding knowledge, making lifelong memories and, especially, friends and planting seeds for a better future for all. The additional students also feed directly into our local businesses and organizations as these students live, work, volunteer and play in our area.

We welcome the students heartily, a little traffic congestion and all.