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Education a strong economic force

Positive signs in spring enrollment at the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University and North Central Texas College spell good news for the entire area.

All three showed drops in enrollment from the fall semester, but the decreases were expected and followed a national trend of lower enrollments in spring, officials said.

Overall, the University of North Texas has continued trends of steady enrollment figures and currently has 33,712 students enrolled in classes, according to data submitted to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for 12th class-day numbers.

While the number is 2,509 less than fall enrollment, it is nearly identical to last spring’s enrollment of 33,715 students. Additionally, UNT saw a 0.5 percent increase in credit hours from spring 2013 to spring 2014, said Elizabeth With, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. The figures point to the fact that UNT has more goal-oriented students who are trying to graduate, she said.

The drop in students from fall to spring was expected, and normally falls between 5 percent and 6 percent.

The Denton campus of Texas Woman’s University was able to retain more students from fall to spring, although enrollment showed a slight decline compared to spring 2013 and fall 2013.

This spring, 11,507 students are enrolled at TWU, down slightly from 11,568 in spring 2013. The major reason is because of a master’s program that starts every other fall, and just graduated in December, said Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life.

Aside from this, other indicators showed growth for TWU, Nicholas said. From last spring, full-time enrollment for undergraduate students is up 3 percent, and for graduate students up 1.3 percent.

Total spring enrollment for all three TWU campuses is 14,157 students. Of those, 12,806 are returning students, compared to 12,745 last spring.

The Denton County campuses of North Central Texas College at Corinth and Flower Mound both saw growth compared to last spring. Enrollment this spring was up 2.2 percent in Flower Mound and half a percentage point in Corinth.

For NCTC, 5,748 students are enrolled at the Corinth campus this spring and 1,514 are enrolled in Flower Mound, said Billy Roessler, vice president of student services.

Officials also announced that NCTC will expand its territory in Corinth this coming summer. The Corinth campus has been steadily growing and hit an all-time high of 6,045 students in the fall of 2013, up about 3 percent from the previous semester.

UNT, TWU and NCTC play vital roles in our community, and we believe their consistency in key enrollment areas and retention bode well for Denton County’s continued prosperity.

Education continues to be a powerful economic force.