While the State of Texas has mandated budget cuts that have cast a dark cloud on higher education, Laredo's Texas A&M International University finds a silver lining in those clouds as it sets yet another enrollment and semester credit hour record this Spring.
TAMIU is posting a 12.4% increase in enrollment and a 12.9% increase in semester credit hours upon which State funding is based. Official Spring enrollment figures that will be reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board this week show that this Spring 2003 the University has 3,744 students, up from 3,332 of Spring 2002.
In addition, students are taking more classes with 36,313 semester credit hours being generated, up from last Spring's 32,163. Undergraduate students number 2840, while 909, or 32% are enrolled in the University's graduate programs. Of those seeking graduate degrees, 47% hold undergraduate degrees from TAMIU.
"It's an interesting challenge," said TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck, "On the one hand, we are being asked to reduce our budgets while we continue to add students who need services and programs. The forecast for additional cuts out of Austin for the 2004 biennium is even more foreboding," he explained.
"Clearly, we are continuing to follow a pattern that has held since the last biennium, when we reported a 24.6% enrollment increase. That growth is being sustained and the University and its programs are continuing to provide local and regional students with the access to higher education that they seek and need," Keck said.
He provided additional information on the Spring Semester 2003 class:
The most popular undergraduate majors are criminal justice, accounting, bilingual education and psychology. The most popular graduate majors are business administration, educational administration, information systems, public administration and early childhood education. The programs with the fastest growing enrollment are those in music, where enrollment has doubled.
The overall average student age is 26.5 with undergraduates averaging 24.6 and graduates 32.2. The oldest student is 71 while the youngest is 16.
Female students outnumber males 63% to 37% and 90 percent of students identify themselves as minority, including Hispanic, African-American, Asian and Other.
While 85% of students come to the University from Webb County, the University is seeing an increase in student enrollment from Zapata, Maverick, Bexar and Jim Hogg counties.
Some 16 countries are represented in the total student population and 5.5% of students are identified as international. The student traveling the furthest to attend the University this semester hails from Ghana.
Keck attributed the growth to continued development of programs relevant to students and employer needs and the launching of regional recruiting efforts including a catchy TV and radio spot.
"We've had tremendous response to the announcement of our addition of three new degrees in music and are beginning to get more out-of-town student applicants drawn by our regional recruiting efforts," he noted.
Registration for the University's Summer Sessions will begin Monday, March 31 with classes starting Monday, June 2.
Keck said that while classes will be offered Mon-Thurs as part of a four-day work week aimed at reducing campus costs, additional sections will be added and no summer classes are projected to be cut.
"If anything, we'll be adding more sections, with faculty and administration taking on increased teaching duties," he observed.
He noted that the four-day work week will restrict events at the University to those work days. The four-day work week will begin May 15, 2003. Office hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.
University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.