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Today@Sam Article

Fall Enrollment Reaches Record High

Oct. 7, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Despite a flattened projected growth for the fall 2011 semester, SHSU's enrollment reached 17,618 students this year, a new high and 2 percent more students than were enrolled last fall.


Sam Houston State University’s enrollment continues to grow and break records, with campus officials estimating that approximately 17,618 students are attending SHSU this fall.

That number accounts for a 2 percent growth over last fall, when enrollment was 17,214, according to the official 20th class day figure released by SHSU’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

The percentage of undergraduate transfer students was up 7 percent; undergraduate former students who returned to SHSU after dropping out for at least one long semester was up about 5 percent; and graduate enrollment, including master’s, doctoral and post- baccalaureate, was up 2.65 percent overall, according to Heather Thielemann, vice president for Enrollment Management.

“This fall was the first semester for the new college, Fine Arts and Mass Comm and they did very well with enrollment,” she said. “Criminal Justice also did an exceptional job with both new student and continuing students.”

Officials had previously projected a 0 percent enrollment growth for the fall 2011 semester due to policy changes and the new software implementation from switching from the Legacy to Banner program, as well as legislative issues, including cuts to financial aid, and the economy overall, Thielemann said.

“Seventy-five to 80 percent of students coming out of high school attend a community college first. So your new student/freshman numbers are flattening out across the state. But the transfer numbers are increasing, and part of our recruiting and marketing efforts shifted toward that transfer group.

“One of the larger increases we had this fall was transfer students coming in with 30 or more hours.”

She credits SHSU’s enrollment growth to a number of social media, calling and e-mail campaigns that allowed SHSU to “keep that personal touch” in helping new students in any way they may need help when preparing for college, both on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“Until now, enrollment has always been (marketed for) new students, but enrollment is always new and continuing students,” Thielemann said. “We’re making a very concerted effort to make sure we’re including everyone (in our efforts).

“With all of the internal and external conditions that we were facing, the Sam Houston community of faculty and staff worked as a team for the enrollment growth that we’ve had. Everybody did a really great job,” she said. “It was nice to see the colleges of faculty, and staff lead by the deans, and all the enrollment staff working with different divisions, pulling together to make sure the students were here and ready for classes for the beginning of the semester.”



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