Although the COVID-19 pandemic is adversely affecting higher education enrollment nationwide this fall, the University of Houston-Victoria is bucking that trend with an increase of more than 9 percent in preliminary enrollment compared with the previous fall.
As of Wednesday, when preliminary enrollment must be reported, UHV had 4,967 students enrolled, a 9.2 percent increase from the preliminary enrollment for fall 2019. The overall growth included increases in student retention as well as bringing in new students.
“UHV’s increase in enrollment is an encouraging sign for the university,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “Throughout the pandemic, it has been a pleasure to see how the university’s faculty and staff came together to continue serving the needs of our students, and our upward enrollment is a sign that our students took notice.”
All three of UHV’s academic schools saw growth in both undergraduate and graduate preliminary enrollment from the previous fall. The School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development saw a 12.1 percent increase in undergraduate students and an 11.2 percent increase in graduate students. The School of Business Administration saw a major increase of 21.4 percent in graduate students and an increase of 1.3 percent in undergraduate enrollment. The School of Arts & Sciences saw growth of 1.1 percent in undergraduate enrollment and 3.2 percent in graduate.
In addition to the growth in overall enrollment, the university had an increase in credit hours taken. As of Wednesday, UHV students were taking 46,825 credit hours, a 6.9 percent increase compared with the previous fall.
UHV’s enrollment growth occurred because of major increases in different segments of the student population. For example, the amount of new transfer undergraduate students grew 21.3 percent compared with fall 2019 preliminary numbers. UHV also had 2,464 continuing undergraduate students, an increase of 3 percent compared with fall 2019.
In addition, the university’s graduate enrollment increased for both new and continuing students. The university has 315 new graduate students, an increase of 9.8 percent, and 1,062 continuing graduate students, an increase of 17.3 percent.
A major part of UHV’s enrollment success had to do with how the university handled necessary changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jose Cantu, UHV vice president for enrollment management. Because of the university’s history of using online instruction, the shift to more virtual classes for student and employee safety was relatively smooth. In addition, the university’s recruiters, financial aid staff, academic advisors and others worked together to reach students during the pandemic.
“It has been amazing to see how every part of the university has bought into the effort to move forward despite the pandemic and other challenges,” Cantu said. “The shift to more online learning was so fluid and efficient, and those in every part of the university made sure that we didn’t lose any momentum when it came to recruiting and preparing for the fall. We would not have such strong numbers if it wasn’t for the hard work of UHV faculty and staff.”