Growing pains: increased enrollment comes with a price
UH has grown from humble beginnings to a national powerhouse. Over the past year, student enrollment has risen from 40,914 to approximately 42,738 students.
Jeff Fuller, director of student recruitment said he attributes the increase in student population to the strengthened culture of the university, as well as more on-campus activities.
“The office of admissions spearheaded efforts to connect with admitted students and their families about the strength in UH’s academic and student success initiatives while demonstrating the benefits of student engagement at the same time,” Fuller said.
Fuller said the increase in students originated from several campus programs in the city of Houston and abroad.
“Increased student enrollment demonstrates that students choosing UH feel proud of their decision,” Fuller said. “They will become advocates for others to choose UH, which is becoming a more attractive college that students select that will lead them to both their professional and personal goals.”
While Fuller believes there are no downsides to an increase in population, some students are noticing complications of a developing campus.
Biology sophomore Omar Abdelaziz said that maneuvering campus has become an acquired skill.
“One thing I have noticed is traffic, which has gotten much worse,” Abdelaziz said. “The roads and parking lots are more crowded than last year’s.”
Chemistry junior Andrew Nguyen shares Abdelaziz’s concern for parking and traffic at the university.
“The school population is now 42,000, yet the parking lots haven’t changed and are becoming more and more inadequate,” Nguyen said. “I think that the school can afford to pay for a concrete parking lot.”
Aside from parking, increased numbers could mean that locations such as the library and the Student Center get more foot traffic, as well as classes in general.
“Inside some of my classes, there are more people than seats and that’s an issue,” Abdelaziz said. “I think that both lecture halls aren’t adequate as conductive learning environments.”
Despite the spike in admissions, some students still question the direction the university has taken. Abdelaziz challenges the university’s decision to focus more money on athletics during a time of growth.
“We (moved) into Tier One status,” Abdelaziz said. “Yet we just shifted money from academics to athletics. Which one are we trying to promote?”