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News is good at UNT, TWU

Enrollment is up slightly at the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, according to unofficial 12th class day numbers, and that’s not the only good news that university officials had to tell us recently.

UNT’s spring enrollment is 33,715 students, a 0.6 percent increase from spring 2012, when 33,505 students were enrolled, and TWU’s spring enrollment is 14,221 students, up from 14,028 in spring 2012.

As we said, the numbers are unofficial — the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will verify them later in the semester — and the increases were small, but a growth in spring enrollment is an indication that the universities have more continuing students. A spring gain is a student retention gain, officials said.

Why is retention important? As UNT spokeswoman Kelley Reese told us, university officials aren’t just interested in enrolling students, they want them to graduate.

UNT has been working on a follow-up program with students to ensure they get their diplomas. The programs have faculty and staff pay attention to students who are struggling and might need help.

TWU also has been increasing its efforts for academic support and scholarship support, officials told us.

Based on these preliminary enrollment figures, the programs to help improve student retention at both universities appear to be paying off, and we encourage officials to continue their efforts. It would be great to see the rates continue to improve.

Funding for universities isn’t based on headcount enrollment — it’s based on semester credit hours — and both universities also reported good news in this area.

UNT students are taking 377,000 semester credit hours this spring, up from 372,000 credit hours in spring 2012, officials said. An undergraduate student takes an average of about 12 credit hours.

TWU students are taking 140,432 credit hours, up 2.6 percent from spring 2012. Credit hours are up more than enrollment figures, which is an indicator that students are carrying more hours on average, officials told us.

And more courses means students are more likely to graduate on time. Again, that’s good news for a university. The state tracks a student’s time to earn a degree, preferring a freshman finish in four years.

Graduation rates also were up for UNT. Undergraduate graduation was up about 2 percent in 2012, while graduate student graduation was up about 1 percent.

From where we sit, it looks like both universities have their priorities in order. Providing students with the support they need to stay in school and get their diplomas is a great way to ensure continued success — for the students and the universities.