UHV experiences double-digit enrollment growth rate

The University of Houston-Victoria’s strong enrollment growth this spring continues a pattern that has made the institution one of the fastest growing universities in Texas.

Enrollment climbed 13.2 percent compared with the spring semester of 2009, bringing total enrollment from 3,260 to 3,691 students, according to unofficial numbers. Enrollment rose 12.6 percent from spring 2008 to spring 2009, and 15.2 percent from fall of 2008 to fall of 2009.

“UHV has earned a solid reputation as one of the best values in higher education available anywhere,” UHV President Tim Hudson said. “An education is an investment for a lifetime with great rates of return, something worth considering in these difficult economic times.”

While it will be several months before final statewide enrollment data is known, early numbers show UHV’s enrollment growth compares favorably with other colleges. Angelo State University reported a growth rate of 7.6 percent spring-over-spring, while Texas Tech reported about 5.6 percent growth during the same time period. UH-Clear Lake saw an increase of 6.7 percent, based on preliminary numbers.

From the fall of 2004 to the fall of 2009, UHV grew by 51 percent, the second fastest growth rate in the state, according to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The strongest percentage growth at UHV for the current semester came from the School of Arts & Sciences, which saw student enrollment increase by about 20 percent.

“We’ve worked very hard during the last few years to create several innovative new master’s programs that can’t be found anywhere else in this region, like our new publishing degree,” Dean Jeffrey Di Leo said. “Those efforts are now bearing sweet fruit as students are taking advantage of these new opportunities.”

The School of Education & Human Development enjoyed the second highest growth rate of slightly more than 11 percent.

“We’ve gained a solid reputation as a place that equips students to be excellent teachers, counselors, administrators and educators,” Dean Lawrence Rossow said. “When you combine that with our flexibility that allows working teachers to continue their education and a faculty and staff who are just wonderful at giving students personal attention, growth naturally follows.”

The School of Business Administration, the largest school at UHV, saw enrollment grow by almost 11 percent.

“Smart entrepreneurs and business managers can thrive in any economy if they have the right skills,” Dean Farhang Niroomand said. “A growing number of people are learning they can get those skills at UHV. Our internationally accredited business degrees are designed to meet the needs of working professionals, which also makes us a popular choice among those seeking promotions within their current fields.”

The UHV School of Nursing limits entrance into its programs to certain semesters during the year but continues to see strong demand for student admission.

“Our enrollment is well above what we originally projected it would be by the spring of 2010,” founding Dean Kathryn Tart said. From fall of 2009 to spring of 2010, the school grew by 32.8 percent overall. The new Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program grew by 155 percent from fall of 2009 to this spring.

UHV saw its strongest enrollment growth, 20 percent, in graduate enrollment, which rose to 1,880 students. Undergraduate enrollment grew by 7.3 percent to 1,811.

“We’re seeing many professionals coming back to school to update and enhance their skills to be more competitive in a tight job market,” Hudson said. “This is a very wise decision on their part and will continue to improve the quality of their lives long after the economy begins to boom again.”

Hudson predicted an upcoming spike in undergraduate enrollment.

“Undergraduate enrollment could see a tremendous jump in the fall when our FIRST 200 freshmen and sophomores arrive and usher in a new era in the history of this university,” Hudson said. “I want to thank all our faculty, staff and community partners who have made all of this growth possible. Without their tireless efforts and deep commitment, none of this would be possible.”

After 37 years as an upper-level institution offering junior, senior and master’s degrees, UHV was granted permission in 2009 to expand to a full destination university.

“Our future looks very bright indeed,” Hudson said.

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