As of Wednesday, UHV has 4,429 students enrolled, an increase of 6.9 percent over final enrollment numbers a year ago.
“It’s exciting to see UHV’s enrollment growing,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “This increase is a sign of more good things to come as we continue to build a destination university.”
In addition to increased enrollment, the university has 621 students living in its residence halls, a 96 percent occupancy rate. That’s a 2 percent increase from the occupancy rate a year ago. UHV’s fourth residence hall, named after UHV Provost Emeritus Don Smith, is slated to open in 2019.
“Seeing this high occupancy rate is exciting, especially considering the setback the university experienced after Hurricane Harvey with classes starting two weeks late,” said Jay Lambert, vice president for student affairs. “I’m glad students are back and living in the residence halls. Seeing them walking around campus and happily engaged in classes and activities is refreshing.”
The university saw growth in undergraduate student enrollment for both new and returning students. UHV has 988 new undergraduates, an increase of 28 percent compared with fall 2016 final enrollment. The university also saw a 3.2 percent increase in undergraduate student retention.
“Student recruitment and retention has been a major focus for UHV,” said Denee Thomas, assistant vice president for enrollment management. “From redesigning the website to a more student friendly format to creating University College, the university has taken several steps to reach more students and encourage current students to complete their degrees.”
When it comes to attracting new students, UHV has used several tools. In addition to the website redesign, the university’s recruiters have traveled to different regions of the state to reach out to students and build relationships. The university also has made connections through encouraging students and their families to visit campus during personal tours, Jaguar Days and other open house events.
UHV’s new freshman class comes from 55 counties across Texas. In addition, the university has made or renewed several agreements with community colleges in the region, including Lone Star College, Houston Community College, Coastal Bend College and Victoria College.
The university also has made strides in retention through the launch this fall of University College, which helps freshmen and sophomores transition to a university experience. Also, the university’s focus on Student Life & Services encourages retention by helping students get involved and become invested in UHV’s campus community, Thomas said.
All three of UHV’s academic schools have seen growth in undergraduate enrollment from the previous year’s final figures. The School of Arts & Sciences saw a 13.2 percent increase. Undergraduate enrollment in the School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development increased 5.1 percent, and the School of Business Administration grew 1.6 percent.
In addition to enrollment increases, students are enrolled in more credit hours. As of Wednesday, students are taking a total of 40,880 credit hours, a 5.9 percent increase in final figures from the previous fall.
UHV opened in 1973 with about 350 students. The university first exceeded 3,000 students in fall 2008 and then crossed over the 4,000-student mark in fall 2010.
Final fall enrollment figures will be released later in the semester after certification from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.