Spring Enrollment at A&M International Up 7 percent, SCH climbs 10 percent

Official Spring 1997 Texas A&M International University enrollment figures reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board indicate enrollment is up almost 7 percent over last Spring.

Headcount at Texas' newest four-year University is 2,630, up from last Spring's 2,464. More importantly, Semester Credit Hours (SCH), upon which state funding is formulated, are also up 10 percent to 23,518 from last Spring's 21,461.

University administrators say the increase follows projections and is the latest installment in the University's vibrant growth.

"We're happy with this latest indicator of the University's growth and development," said J. Charles Jennett, A&M International president.

"While many universities and colleges across the nation seem locked in a downward spiral of lowered enrollment and reduced program offerings, we find ourselves accelerating in all areas and developing new programs to respond to growing student needs," Jennett said.

He noted that just last week the University dedicated Phase II of its new campus, adding four new buildings that have increased the University some 60% in size and provided the backdrop for additional program growth.

"This University is poised for a truly bright future. I believe our students sense that and want to begin their future here. With the support of this Legislature, we also believe that our dream of the campus' completion with Phases III and IV funded will come true," he said.

Jennett said that while the University is growing, it needs to grow faster and to continue to do so to assure that an educated populace is in place to lead Texas and the world into the next century.

"We're happy to have our students, but we need more students...all educational institutions need more students... to be able to have the human capital in place to handle the challenges of the 21st century. This University is prepared to educate students to take on those challenges, mind, body and soul," he explained.

"It's an exciting time at the University. Our students today are part of a historic new force in higher education, and the first new University in Texas in over 25 years. They're part of something very special," he said.

Jennett said he believes future A&M International students will find their education becoming even more affordable.

"With anticipated changes in federal assistance programs like Pell Grants, we expect that even more students will realize that they can earn a four-year degree at their hometown University with less expense then they might think. We believe that the reconfigured Pell will cover the bulk of most student's tuition costs," he said.

Jennett said a close look at the Spring undergraduate and graduate student population at the University reveals the University's growing diversity.

"For example, although 89% of our students come from the Laredo and Webb County area, we have students representing over 20 foreign countries in our student population. They bring an important international dimension to our student body. If we look at gender, nearly 62% of our students are female which we find tremendously encouraging for higher education in South Texas," he explained.

Jennett noted that of undergraduate students, the most popular declared majors this Spring are accounting, psychology, criminal justice and early childhood education. Among graduate students, the most popular declared majors are general business, school administration, counseling psychology and international trade.

President Jennett said one figure he is especially proud of reveals that over 60% of the student body registered early for classes this semester.

"Our Division of Student Affairs has worked many long hours to make this possible. I know students appreciate the opportunity to commit to their classes and their schedule as early as possible and we will continue to aggressively promote early registration," he said.

Jennett said the forecast for the University continues to be bright with the coming addition of affordable student housing on campus.

"University Village, which will house over 250 students, signals a new era for this campus and the addition of a new facet of campus life. We are finding tremendous interest in student housing and expect to attract students who have been commuting to campus as well as those local students who would simply prefer to live on campus. The number of inquiries about housing we're receiving is impressive, " he said.

Constructed by American Campus Lifestyles Inc., of Austin, University Village is scheduled to open this coming Fall.

Jennett noted that registration for Summer Session One and Two and Fall 1997 will begin April 7.

"Summer is traditionally a time when we see our local and area educators continue progress on graduate degrees and recent high school students get a head start on their University degree," he observed.

For additional information on summer enrollment at Texas A&M International University, please contact the Office of Admissions and Advisement at 326-2001.

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