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University aims to increase enrollment over time

March 19, 1997

By Tamara Waite

Lariat Reporter

Statistics from the past five years show that the University's enrollment is on the rise while enrollment at other universities in Texas is holding steady or even declining.

The University's total enrollment has risen from 12,185 in 1992 to a current number of 12,391 and is expected to steadily increase over the next three years.

The idea to begin boosting enrollment emerged from a self-study the University conducted a year and a half ago. The study revealed that students were taking fewer semester hours each year and were taking longer to graduate.

'The University was faced with a choice between keeping the same amount of students and raising tuition or increasing enrollment and keeping costs about the same,' said Dr. Stan Madden, vice president for University marketing. 'The objective was to raise enrollment while maintaining the quality of education at Baylor as well as the quality of students.'

To take advantage of its full capacity and to keep revenue from dropping, the University adopted a plan that would increase enrollment by 1,000 students over the next four years.

Steps included increasing the number of parents and alumni volunteers for recruiting programs and using the University's web site more extensively to attract more students.

Last fall, freshman enrollment rose by approximately 150 students to begin the long-term increase.

Other universities in Texas are not currently pursuing any organized plans to boost enrollment. Officials from private universities including Rice University, Texas Christian University (TCU) and Trinity University report very little fluctuation in their respective enrollments over the past five years.

An admissions representative from Rice said the school prides itself on its small size and selective enrollment. He added that Rice's enrollment has changed by less than 25 students in the past five years and that he foresees no change in the current policy.

Representatives from Trinity and TCU said that they feel their universities are operating at an optimal level and do not have any plans for increasing enrollment.

TCU's enrollment has risen by more than 200 students in the past five years, but according to the director of communications, the university plans to maintain a consistent enrollment size in the coming years.

Public universities, including Texas Tech University and the University of Texas, are currently under management plans to stabilize and even reduce their enrollments.

From 1989 to 1992, Texas Tech raised its admissions standards and accepted fewer applications to reduce its size. For the past five years, Tech has been rebuilding its size and now plans to stabilize its enrollment at less than 25,000 students, according to an admissions representative.

The University of Texas reached a high of approximately 50,000 students in 1989 and is currently under an enrollment management plan to reduce its enrollment to 48,000 students. UT has raised its admissions criteria for incoming freshmen and transfer students to facilitate this decrease.

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