UHV blows away recruiting goal for FIRST 200

The University of Houston-Victoria’s FIRST 200 is now more like the FIRST 300.

UHV has significantly surpassed its goal of attracting 200 underclassmen to the Victoria campus this fall. As of Wednesday evening, 303 underclassmen   ̶  consisting of 223 freshmen and 80 sophomores   ̶  had registered for face-to-face classes in Victoria, and that number is expected to grow as registration continues through noon Sept. 2.

Underclassmen classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 7, although not all students who register for classes will necessarily decide to attend UHV.

“We are gratified to have exceeded our FIRST 200 goal,” UHV Interim President Don Smith said. “We could not have accomplished this without the hard work of all the faculty, staff and existing students at UHV.”

Recruitment efforts began after Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 1056 in June of 2009 to allow UHV to admit underclassmen for the first time ever in the fall of 2010. Two recruiters were placed in San Antonio and two in Houston. Recruiters based out of Victoria focused their efforts on attracting UHV students from the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo, Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas.

“I always believed we would meet our goal,” said Chari Norgard, associate vice president of student success and enrollment management, of which recruiting is a part. “With our convenient location, affordable prices and smaller size, we’ve got all the pieces that are attractive not only to parents, but also to students.”

Tammy Lackey, senior recruitment coordinator for the Houston area, said she heard from many of the incoming underclassmen that they wanted to go to UHV because they would be making history as the first freshmen and sophomores to attend the university.

“These students are a very pioneering group,” Lackey said. “They are excited to be a part of something new.”

For Megan Carter, a recent graduate of Woodsboro High School who will be a pitcher for the Jaguars softball team, the university’s size is part of what attracted her to UHV.

“I’m excited about the small class size at UHV and getting a personal, one-on-one experience,” she said.

Hope Salgado, senior recruitment coordinator for the San Antonio area, heard from many students who liked the smaller class sizes and from parents who liked Victoria’s size and location.

“The parents are happy that their students will only be a couple hours away from home,” she said. “They also like the prices we offer at UHV.”

In addition to being one of the most affordable universities in Texas, UHV’s Jaguar Pledge is allowing new Texas freshmen and sophomores coming to UHV from outside the Victoria region to save at least 50 percent off their tuition and fees their first year.

For Victoria residents, UHV’s success means success for the entire community. Additional underclassmen also are expected to start classes in the spring semester.

“UHV’s expansion will transform Victoria and bring economic growth to this area,” said Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “It is not surprising to me that the goal of 200 underclassmen was exceeded when students were told about all the great things happening at UHV.”

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.

Paula Cobler