by BRAD ROLLINS
Texas State University officials expect undergraduate enrollment to exceed at least 35,000 this fall, setting the latest record in a decades-long run of them.
More than 20,000 high school seniors have applied for admission to Texas State as freshmen so far and 9,560 have been accepted, although not all of those will choose to attend here.
The university expects the incoming freshman class to be about three to 5 percent larger than last year’s crop and total enrollment to increase two to 3 percent, said Mark Heintze, the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management. The upper end of that range puts fall 2012 enrollment at 35,137 compared to 34,113 who enrolled in fall 2011.
“Right at the moment, we’re a very popular choice among talented students in the state of Texas and that’s borne out by the striking number of students who are applying for admissions,” Heintze said.
The university’s policy is admit no more than five percent more freshmen each year than the previous year, Heintze said.
Texas State passed Texas Tech and Texas-San Antonio in 2008 to become the state’s fifth-largest university. It grew 4.5 percent between fall 2010 and fall 2011 and, if that trajectory continues, could replace the University of North Texas next semester for fourth in enrollment, behind only Texas-Austin, A&M and the University of Houston.
When Texas State exceeds about 35,500 students sometime this year, it will have met — three years ahead of schedule — the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s institutional target for Texas State of 35,516 by fall 2015.
The state’s colleges and universities have been in a full-sprint for more than decade to increase their enrollment capacity under the coordinating board’s landmark Closing the Gap initiative. The program, and its enrollment targets, were drafted to address a booming, younger population and reverse ominously low enrollment and graduation rates, especially among blacks and Latinos.