University enrollment continues to grow

The Texas A&M University-Commerce has increased its enrollment to an all time high. According to Dr. Mary Hendrix, Vice President for Student Access and Success, “There was a deliberate focus by all members of the university community to increase enrollment this fall.”

Incoming freshmen have increased their enrollment by nine percent while transfer enrollment has gone up by ten percent. New undergraduate Hispanic students have had a 91 percent increase over last year.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked the university at number 17 for the “Fastest-Growing Colleges, 2002-12,” with a 39% increase over the ten year period.

In an effort to continue this rise in enrollment in future years, Dr. Hendrix said that “the university plans to focus on strategic enrollment planning with specific metrics; review existing academic programs to ensure they are relevant; launch new academic programs, and also focus on improving customer service, processes, and advising.”

Along with the increase in enrollment, there has been an increase in students living on campus. This is, in part, due to the university requirement that freshmen and sophomores live on campus in order to gain the full college experience.

“Living on campus in close proximity to your resources is crucial,” Michael Stark, the Interim Director for Residential Living and Learning, said.

Stark went on to explain that the transition from high school to college can be difficult and that the student would be better integrated to the college community by living on campus. He also said that it is good for sophomores to live on campus because they still don’t know where everything. They haven’t used half of the resources that they were told were available to them, if they even remember what they all are. A student’s sophomore year is also a “telling year,” according to Stark.

Last year over a third of Phase II was left empty. When asked about this Stark replied that it was mainly due to the fact that it was a new building, which can sometimes be a challenge to fill.

“This year we opened [Phase II], if not at a hundred percent, we were in the nineties,” Stark said. The building houses Regents, upperclassmen and freshmen.

The increase in students has also led to an increase in the amount of money that the university receives. However, the university is not squandering the students’ money, but looks for ways to give back to the students and increase their quality of living on campus.

“More students coming in means more money,” Stark said. “More money means you can look at building a new building. It means that we can look at funding new types of programs like living learning community.”

Stark said that the university’s goal for the budget is to break even. If there is any money left at the end of the year, it rolls over and goes into new projects, such as the New Pride boilers that were put in over the summer.