Posted: 9/23/98

University Posts Historic Enrollment For Fall Semester of 3000+



Students enrolling at Texas A&M International University this fall have helped to write another chapter in the University's history by being part of the University's largest enrollment in its near-30-year history, University officials announced in special ceremonies Wednesday.

Fall enrollment at A&M International exceeded 3000 students for the first time in the history of the University. 3006 students have enrolled, an increase of 6% from last Fall when the student count was 2,839. Semester Credit Hours (SCH) are also up 6% from 25,499 last Fall to 27,041 this Fall.

University president Charles Jennett was joined by State Senator Judith Zaffirini and State Representative Henry Cuellar for the historic announcement in the University's Great Room. Jennett also introduced Cigarroa High School science teacher Esther Buckley, a University alumnus and current student who is the University's 3000th student to enroll.

After the historic announcement, Jennett was joined by Zaffirini and Cuellar and representatives of the University's student body, faculty and alumni association in cutting a series of cakes which numbered out the historic figure: "3-0-0-0-+ ."

Jennett noted that at a time when many Texas colleges and universities are seeing flat or no growth, A&M International is continuing to post enrollment gains.

"We know there is a great thirst for higher education in Laredo an South Texas and we are happy to be able to quench that thirst for our students," he said.

Jennett said he believes the additions of new degrees consistent with the needs of surrounding communities is among crucial factors that have lead to the enrollment gains. The University now offers 26 undergraduate degrees and 22 graduate degrees and is developing its first doctoral degree.

"I think that it's clear that we are bringing forward new degree programs, delivered by a gifted faculty, that truly address student needs. Other factors include the campus' ongoing physical growth and the tireless work of our student recruiters who provide potential students with the information they need to make an informed decision. Finally, the support of the community from scholarships to building and program support has been fantastic," he said.

Dr. Stephen Brown, dean of student affairs, noted that four-year University degrees are now the entry level standard in most professions and many University graduates are the first in their family to earn undergraduate degrees.

"We are seeing an average of 50% of each semester's graduates earning a Bachelor's degree and being the first in their family to do so. It's very exciting for us as faculty, administrators, staff and alumni to watch this community's human capital grow with A&M International and take its place in helping to partner the future growth of our region and our world," he said.

Brown offered some additional information on A&M International students that are part of this semester's record-breaking enrollment:

*64% of the student body is female

*32 different countries are represented in the student body

*The student body is 88% Hispanic, 5.4% Caucasian and 1% Asian.

*The oldest student is 79.

*At age 16, 20 students comprise the youngest component of the student body.

*25.6 is the average undergraduate student age

*80% of students receive financial aid.

Brown noted that the top five declared undergraduate majors are Accounting, Early Childhood Education, Business Administration, Psychology and Nursing. The new four-year nursing program was just added this year and is posting remarkable student interest.

For additional information, contact the Office of the Registrar at 326-2250.

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