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Students, students and more students
New freshmen lead the way in eighth consecutive semester of enrollment gains

Samye Hightower enrolled at UTA for the first time last fall, and so did hundreds of other freshmen. The incoming crowd raised new-freshman enrollment by 18.8 percent over fall 2000 totals.

Progressive Growth
Progressive Growth: Enrollment has increased steadily since 1998.

Overall enrollment for the semester was 21,180—a 3.7 percent increase over fall 2000—and the largest number of students on campus since 1995. It marked the eighth consecutive semester of enrollment gains.

Like most of the newbies, Hightower spent her first semester acclimating to college life. Coming to UTA from the Panhandle town of Perryton (population 7,900), her campus community is now almost three times as large as her hometown. But she's adjusting fast. She moved into Arlington Hall in August, soon built a circle of friends, joined Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and found work as a lifeguard at the Activities Building pool.

New academic offerings like the bachelor's degree
in athletic training and online master's programs
in computer science engineering and electrical
engineering have helped fuel an enrollment surge.

"I just decided to get involved," she said. "There's always something to do."

More students filling residence halls and University classrooms and the added credit hours they take will translate to additional funding for new programs and infrastructure improvements, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dana Dunn said. During formula-funding years, the Legislature assesses credit-hour production for the three preceding semesters to calculate how much money state colleges and universities receive. For fall 2001, UTA produced 13,132 more credit hours than in fall 2000, a 6.3 percent increase.

Fred Henry, assistant dean of students and director of Multicultural Services, attributes the rise in freshman enrollment to hard work from University administrators and representatives, as well as a growing pool of college candidates.

"I think we've put some vehicles in place that make UTA a very viable option for students," Henry said. "We're perceived as the neighborhood university for much of the Metroplex. But once we get students out to visit, they are very impressed. We're comparable to other top universities in the country."

Dr. Dunn sees many reasons for the rising enrollment, particularly new academic programs like the bachelor's degree in athletic training, master's in math and science education, master's in music, and online master's programs in computer science engineering and electrical engineering. UTA also now offers degree programs at McLennan Community College and Weatherford Junior College, further boosting enrollment.

In addition to the significant growth in numbers of new freshmen, enrollment increased in several other areas. More than 2,300 international students enrolled for fall 2001, up 24 percent from the previous year. Minority enrollment was up, led by native American students, who increased their numbers by 8.6 percent. Asian student enrollment grew 7.3 percent, accompanied by slight increases in African-American and Hispanic enrollment. Since 1997, the number of African-American students has climbed 43 percent, while the number of Hispanic students has grown 36 percent.

"Certainly a portion of our enrollment growth is due to demographic growth," Dr. Dunn said. "But I think the fact that we have had not just modest, but very significant, consecutive semesters of growth suggests that our initiatives and programs are important contributors."


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