First-Time Students Power UTEP to Fall Enrollment Record

The University of Texas at El Paso has vaulted over the 23,000 mark for the first time in the institution’s 99-year history due to a larger-than-normal freshman class and an increase in first-time students.

This is the 15th straight year that UTEP, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2014, has broken its fall semester enrollment record. This year’s 23,003 enrollees surpassed last year’s record of 22,749.

“We are delighted that more and more students are choosing UTEP,” said University President Diana Natalicio. “While many universities are experiencing declining enrollments, UTEP’s enrollment growth demonstrates that we are fulfilling our commitment to provide students with affordable access to excellent academic programs. UTEP’s #7 overall ranking by Washington Monthly magazine and our #1 ranking as best in the nation for fostering student social mobility validate UTEP as an outstanding choice.”

UTEP officials said the growth in student enrollment is a result of years of outreach within neighboring school districts and positive national publicity during the past few years that trumpet the University’s successful and innovative programs.

The number of new undergraduate students, including first-time and transfer students, jumped to 4,817 from 4,526, a 6.4 percent increase. There was a 4 percent growth in the freshman class to 4,713 from 4,534 last year.

Other factors that helped were an increase in undergraduate student retention and a continuation of the trend of higher semester credit hours to 242,173 from 238,502 (1.5 percent) that signifies faster degree completion.

Many of today’s UTEP students, including Top 10 percent high school graduates and first-generation college students, will benefit from UTEP’s “Access and Excellence” model that balances affordability and availability with quality academics full of research opportunities. These students have access to counselors, financial planners and degree advisers, and can select from 71 bachelor’s, 76 master’s and 20 doctoral degree programs, with more on the way.

On top of its many academic accolades, the U.S. Department of Education data has ranked UTEP as the best value and most affordable of the emerging research institutions of higher education classified by the Carnegie Foundation.

“It is clear that El Paso continues to see UTEP as the region’s great educational opportunity,” said Craig Westman, Ph.D., associate vice president for student solutions and outcomes integration. “Its quality research education coupled with one of the lowest research institutional costs in the nation make UTEP the right choice for higher education.”

Figures released in May by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center showed a 2.3 percent decline in college enrollments in the spring compared to last year. Officials with the nonprofit organization suggested that the decrease in enrollment is tied to a stronger economy.