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Friday, October 23, 2020

Campus

High enrollment means increased chances for success


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UH experienced a 3.6 percent enrollment increase this year. Incoming freshmen were given the option to sign up for the UHin4 program, which offers a four-year fixed tuition. | File photo/The Cougar

UH broke records this semester with a total enrollment number of 40,959 students, a 3.6 percent increase from last fall, a number that may very well represent a step in the initiative to become a fully Tier One school.

“We are continuing to broaden our overall excellence, which includes enhancing the undergraduate education experience and improving our college completion rate,” President Renu Khator said in a press release.

“Our record enrollment reflects the undeniable, palpable energy on display on our campus. It is an exciting time to be a Cougar.”

Incoming freshmen are also taking more classes than ever. The number of classes freshmen are taking — an average of 14.44 semester credit hours — is greater than the average undergraduate, who is enrolled in 12.06 credit hours.

Incoming freshmen were given an option to opt into the new UHin4 program, which offers four years of fixed tuition, valued at $4,750 a semester. The program requires a minimum of fifteen credit hours to be completed each semester. Approximately 60 percent of incoming freshmen signed up.

“UHin4 is good for the students and for the University as more and more emphasis is being put on performance-based funding,” said Provost Paula Myrick Short. “We will continue to evaluate innovative and impactful programs that increase student success, including graduation rates, and contribute to a positive student experience.”

Because UH is a public school, state funding may increase due to the higher number of enrolled students. The increase in average credit hours will also have a positive impact on state funding.

“(The) state formula funding represents about one-third of the University’s operating budget, excluding auxiliary expenses and research,” said Interim Associate Provost for Strategic Enrollment Planning Maureen G. Croft.

“In order to maintain balanced revenue and to maintain comparable access to a college education, UH often attempts to balance our enrollment with statewide growth in enrollment.”

This fall also marks an increase in students living on campus, as well as students that are returning either to finish their degrees or to continue their education, adding to the already diverse educational climate at UH. Specifically, more African Americans are enrolled than ever before along with more undergraduate transfer students.

“More efforts were placed on increasing our yield activity (admission to enrollment) for new African-American freshmen,” said Director of Student Recruitment Jeff Fuller. “We enhanced the communication and outreach more frequently and more focused. Transfer students were allowed to list up to three potential majors so we could holistically review them for the major most appropriate based on their educational history.”

Student Government Association President Charles Haston said he believes UH is reflective of the city surrounding it.

“That’s something that students should take full advantage of,” Haston said. “With so many ethnicities and cultures represented on campus, students do not have to travel to the other side of the world to experience and learn (about) them.”

More students mean increased opportunities for being involved in student life. Haston said that having a larger student body is indicative of our current economic climate, as jobs are harder to come by. This is also represented by an increase in older students who have come to continue their education.

“With that many students, it’s easy to become lost in the crowd, but that’s not happening here,” Haston said. “Students are demonstrating that not only are they coming to UH to get a degree, they are also here to be involved.”

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