Final fall figures show phenomenal growth at UHV

It’s official. Final fall enrollment figures at the University of Houston-Victoria grew by almost 500 students from fall of 2008 to fall of 2009, giving the school an annual growth rate of about 15 percent.

Preliminary enrollment figures from Texas public universities show UHV had the fastest growth rate of any school in Texas, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Final numbers for all of the state’s universities are expected to be available in December.

“Education is the pathway that allows people to achieve their dreams,” UHV President Tim Hudson said. “More and more people are finding out they can get a quality education delivered with convenience and excellence at a cost they can afford at UHV.”

Enrollment grew from 3,174 in the fall of 2008 to 3,655 in the fall of 2009.

The strongest growth occurred in the School of Business Administration, which added about 230 students for an 18 percent growth rate. The school accounts for about 42 percent of UHV’s total enrollment.

“Ultimately, nothing stimulates enrollment growth as effectively as a good reputation,” said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the school. “Our enrollment this fall is a direct result of the good reports business students and alumni have given on our high-quality programs and excellent student service.”

The school’s online degrees make it an ideal choice for students trying to balance the competing demands of family, career and education, he said.

Enrollment at the school has grown by 93 percent since 2005. Undergraduate enrollment grew by almost 150 percent during the same time period.

School of Arts & Sciences enrollment grew by 23 percent, or 195 students, over the last year. The school now has more than 1,000 students for the first time in its history.

“We’ve added a number of new degrees and concentrations recently, including the first publishing master’s degree program in the South,” Dean Jeffrey Di Leo said. “These new programs, along with our long list of existing programs, offer students a wonderfully diverse array of paths from which to choose.”

The School of Education & Human Development grew by about 7 percent, with exceptionally strong growth, about 18 percent, in its graduate programs.

“We’ve seen a lot of educators in our area choose to enhance their skills by pursuing more education,” Dean Lawrence Rossow said. “This, in turn, means a better quality of education and brighter futures for young students in this region and beyond.”

Enrollment in the School of Nursing’s graduate programs jumped from 39 to 59 students from the fall of 2008 to the fall of 2009. While undergraduate numbers changed little fall to fall, Dean Kathryn Tart said the school will double the number of students it admits to its Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in January. The 48 new students will help alleviate the state’s nursing shortage. The school staff members also anticipate many new students in the Registered Nurse to BSN program.

“In the spring semester of 2010, we expect our enrollment numbers to skyrocket as we accept new groups of students,” Tart said.

The finalized numbers also revealed several interesting facts about UHV and its student body:  

  • The student body represents individuals from 34 countries and 26 states, giving UHV a reach well beyond the Victoria region and Texas as a whole.
  • UHV was founded in 1973 to provide people in Victoria and the surrounding counties with access to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Now only one in five students live in UHV’s home region since the university has expanded its influence through online courses and satellite centers in the Houston area. However, that trend is expected to change next fall with the arrival of the FIRST 200 freshmen and sophomores, all to be based in Victoria.
  • Enrollment is evenly split between graduate and undergraduate students
  • The average student age is 32.
  • The student body has about two women for every man.

“These data are a credit to the continuing hard work, innovation and passion demonstrated by our faculty and staff,” Hudson said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their contributions that made this achievement possible.”

The 2009 fall enrollment figures represent a watershed moment for UHV.

“In a way, the numbers we’re releasing today mark the closing of a chapter in our 35-year history,” Hudson said. “Next year, everything will change as we welcome our FIRST 200 freshmen and sophomores and truly become a destination university.”

The new students will find a list of innovative programs awaiting them, including the Degree in Three, or Dn3, the first three-year degree offered by a Texas public university, Hudson said. They also will find scholarships reserved for them, raised in part through ongoing Campaign Victoria efforts.

UHV began accepting applications for underclassmen on Monday.

“These new students will continue to enjoy the quality instruction, innovative programs and caring faculty and staff members who have made it possible for us to reach where we are today,” Hudson said. “I can’t wait to see where these wonderful people will take this institution and its students tomorrow.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342