Overall enrollment at UTA increased by 0.86% this semester compared to last fall, according to preliminary data obtained by The Shorthorn through a public information request.
Five colleges — the College of Liberal Arts, College of Science, College of Social Work, University College and Honors College — saw enrollment decreases since last fall. UTA’s overall junior class saw a 12.22% increase, while the senior class dropped by 0.37%.
Troy Johnson, vice president for enrollment management, said this fall’s enrollment numbers demonstrated an increased graduation rate and retention of students. However, he’d like to see the freshman class as well as the population of transfer students continue to grow, he said.
He attributes the fall in seniors to graduation but said the growth in the junior class showed retention of sophomores and freshmen.
Johnson said the enrollment numbers show a 8.79% drop in the number of freshmen because many students who enrolled in college for the first time already had enough credits to qualify as sophomores or juniors. He said the number of students who enrolled in college for the first time actually increased about 5.5% since last fall.
Johnson said it was great for students that enrollment and graduation rates were increasing because it showed that the university was committed to student success.
“It’s a good era,” he said.
He said the Division of Enrollment Management set a goal to increase the number of students visiting campus by 25% in the next three years to recruit potential students. The division is also working with community college partners to ensure a clear pathway for transfer students.
“We’re not recruiting freshmen — we’re recruiting future graduates,” he said. “We’re really committed to students who come here to make sure they finish, and we’re seeing improvements there that are really good for students.”
In the future, Johnson said they want to continue seeing an increase in the freshman class while supporting transfer students through different methods.
According to UTA’s strategic plan website, the university is expected to have more than 43,000 students enrolled in fall 2020. The current preliminary total is about 42,900.
President Vistasp Karbhari said he was pleased with the enrollment this semester and now wanted to ensure UTA had the faculty and facilities to support the growing student body.
He said the university needs to maintain partnerships with local community colleges and high schools to continue reaching out to potential students. When a new student comes to campus, more can be done to promote university resources such as the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center.
“We want to make sure that when we bring students over here, that they’re going to be successful. We prepare them to be successful, and we do everything we can to make that a very smooth integration,” Karbhari said.
Working with local community colleges such as Tarrant County College and Dallas County Community College to ensure a smooth transition of college credits is important, he said.
Julie Eklund, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board assistant commissioner, said four-year universities across Texas have seen a steady increase in enrollment over the past five years.
She said UTA’s enrollment was slightly higher than the state’s overall university enrollment for fall, which was measured at 0.6%, based on preliminary data.