Enrollment Breaks Records at TAMIU, More 'Missing' Students Sought

Enrollment at Texas A&M International University this Spring is at a historic high with 3,332 students, a vigorous 12.2% increase in students over the Spring 2001 enrollment of 2,969.

The University's Semester Credit Hours (SCH), which help to determine the University's funding, are also up an impressive 14.6% over last Spring when SCH was 28,031. Spring 2002 SCH is 32,141.

The University's record enrollment was discussed along with its plans to attract greater numbers of students at a press conference Monday, Feb. 18 in the new Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade.

"While this enrollment is indeed impressive, more students are missing out on the best opportunity to better their lives through higher education, "said Dr. Ray Keck, University president.

Dr. Keck acknowledged that while South Texas college and university enrollment has been the fastest growing in the State, there is room for much more growth, especially in Laredo and surrounding regions.

"South Texas has seen an enrollment growth rate of 39.3% from 1991-2000, compared to the average statewide enrollment of 7.4%, but more Laredo and regional students need to avail themselves of the life-changing opportunities that higher education represents," Keck explained.

Keck continued, noting that the legislative effort known as the South Texas Border Initiative has helped make this growth possible, but that its investment needs to be enjoyed by more.

"The Initiative was visionary and our campus stands as a testament to that vision. Now we want the lives that we can change through higher education here to continue to celebrate that vision," he said.

"Two schools in the Valley, South Texas Community College and the University of Texas-Pan American have doubled student enrollment. Because we are joined aggressively by both our school districts in a common resolve---Laredo students must participate in higher education. Texas A&M International University projects doubling its enrollment in the next five years. This is an ambitious reach. But the Laredo community, generous in its support of student learning, continues to make more and more scholarships available for deserving young people, " Keck resolved.

"We should be able to do this and more, given our demographics and growth. Financial aid is readily available and our expanded student services here can make a crucial difference in student success," he noted. Illustrating his point was a cake prepared to celebrate the historic enrollment which was missing a large piece. This piece is for the students who are out there and don't realize that the future offered here is for them, their families and their futures, " he explained.

He said the University will aggressively expand what he said has become a successful student recruitment program.

"We've learned that it is our ability to connect with potential students , anticipate their needs and deliver those needs and help our students 'go further' which has helped them to choose A&M International. We plan to expand that effort throughout our region, including the Valley and San Antonio, and further increase enrollment," he said.

Keck shared some interesting information about students this semester at A&M International:

*The University's undergraduate enrollment is 2,588, up 18.9% over last Spring's 2175, while graduate enrollment is 744, slightly down from last Spring's 794.

*Among the most popular undergraduate degrees are criminal justice, accounting, nursing, biology and computer information systems.

*The College of Arts and Humanities has the highest enrollment as assigned to declared major, with 1138 students. The College of Business Administration is second with 964 students.

*The average overall student age is 26.6, with undergraduates averaging 24.9 years of age and graduates 32.4.

*The University's oldest student is 76 and its youngest 15.

*62.5% of the campus' enrollment is female, 37.5% male.

*90.5% of students are minorities, including Hispanic, African American and Asian students.

* 70% of students receive financial aid including scholarships, loans and work-study.

*Over 20 different countries are represented in the total student population while 15% of graduate students are international students and 2.6% of undergraduate students are international.

*The University's fastest growing undergraduate program is Biology.

*45% of graduate students hold undergraduate degrees from A&M International.

*Two students from Nepal have traveled the farthest to attend the University this semester.

For additional information, please contact the A&M International Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at 326.2180.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu