San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

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.

Old Main at Texas State

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.

Elsewhere on the Internet

» Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Closing the Gaps initiative

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13 thoughts on “Texas State expects to top 35,000 undergrads this fall

  1. Again, it is very impressive to see how the university has grown, not just in size, but in quality. The classes are better. The facilities are better. The reputation has turned around 180 degrees.

    There is a lot that the city could learn, about *real* growth and development here.

    Congrats to everyone who has worked at making these changes happen.

  2. I work as an admissions representative and believe me we work extremely hard to find the best and brightest for Texas State and San Marcos. It will be amazing to see this university in 10 years and even better to see the close knit bond that that the city and university have developed.

    Help us admissions representatives out. Get over the name change if you aren’t already. Choose to wear Texas State gear and not that of our northern neighbor. Support the teams. See a performance. It’s all going to create more opportunity for everyone here.

  3. It is hard to celebrate this achievement when Texas State University’s unchecked growth is having such deleterious effects on our community and ecological health. As developers scramble to exploit every opportunity to invade neighborhoods and ecologically sensitive areas in order to develop towering apartment complexes to accommodate students, residents who love this community and its beautiful natural treasures struggle to defend their neighborhoods and the area’s ecologic integrity.

    Unfortunately, in spite of over 2,100 signatures calling for a temporary moratorium on rezoning, San Marcos City Council has been largely deaf to these concerns of San Marcos citizens, citing concern for the “connotation” this might send to the developers. While this may be seen as a municipal problem, it is hard to justify Texas State University’s apparent indifference to the social and ecological damage their burgeoning growth incites and, sometimes, directly inflicts.

    As we continue to destroy, in our quest for private profit and fulfillment of personal or institutional ambitions, both the biologic and cultural foundations essential to guaranteeing any quality of life for future generations, we might call into question the real value of an educational degree.

    I would like to see both the University and the City join together in order to develop a credible plan providing for the natural and cultural heritage of our children’s future

    The problems we face are not unique to San Marcos. Indeed, blessed with the presence of our beloved Springs, San Marcos is the oldest continuously inhabited site in North America. Might this expand the global implications of our local community? I am still idealistic enough to hope that somehow we will find a way to solve our local dilemmas and, in doing so, potentially shed a beam of light in the global arena as well.

    Until such time, we have a long way to go.

  4. Gena, you are correct that the city and the university need to learn to work together, and this means finding mutually beneficial solutions, not one side capitulating to the other.

    The other piece that we are missing, is city leadership willing to stick to a plan, the way that the university has.

  5. Jamar,

    Thank you for everything you do for the university. One of those young people that will be new this fall at Texas State will be my daughter. I feel very blessed that she gets an opportunity to go to such a great university.

    My daughter has been raised to enjoy and respect what mother nature has provided us, as well as being taught if aren’t growing, your stagnate, and after being stagnate for a while, y’all now what happens.

  6. And we better get on the ball soon because the D/FW-San Antonio East Coast style megalopolis is coming whether we like it or not…

    We can be run over by this growth and leave a town for our grandkids planned by developers who see our town in terms of profit potential (and before anyone simplistically yells I am a no-growther or anti-capitalist or anything like that, please let me assure you that could hardly be further from the case; go look up what nuance means first and then come back) or we can try to manage the tidal wave of urbanization that is coming – whether we like it or not – on our own terms to the best of our ability.

    And might I say again that WE are in a position of strength due to the natural demand based upon both our geographic location and the demographics of our population. We do not have to rush into anything. We can take our time. The demand is not going away. There are profits to be made here and someone will come in to seek them no matter what we do. The whole chasing development off issue demonstrates either ignorance of economics or is a scare tactic.

    Might I also add that many of the solutions to our civic issues – economic, environmental, educational, town planning – likely lie right in front of our noses at said university, if we could only create the space for dialogue to occur between town and gown. Why, for instance, are there not greater ties between our School of Ed and CISD? It is pretty galling that they are so loose from my perspective.

    And I am also convinced that if this process can be made as democratic, open, and extensive as possible we would likely have some very good ideas on the table for us to help manage this growth that is going to utterly change the landscape of this town and area, change that will rival that which occurred here in the time frame of say 1850-1950…

    Can you imagine what it looked like around here in 1850? And then compare that to now? Now think about 2112 and it is a reasonable proposition that the scale of change is going to be pretty similar. Obviously we have no clue what this is going to look like exactly, but is there any doubt that it will be substantial? Anyone ever think they would see suburbs popping up around Driftwood for God’s sake?

    And then ask ourselves: Are we doing our part to ensure that San Marcos is a good place to live for those who have yet to be born? If the answer is no, that is the height of selfishness for us as a society and community.

  7. “Might I also add that many of the solutions to our civic issues – economic, environmental, educational, town planning – likely lie right in front of our noses at said university, if we could only create the space for dialogue to occur between town and gown.”

    Absolutely. The potential for both the city, and the university, working together, is far greater than anything we have seen from either on their own.

  8. Jamar, thank you for the work you are doing, I am proud of the stirdes Texas State has made, but I went to school at that neighbor to the north you allude to so I will continue wearing their colors, sorry.

    But things can be learned by Texas State from the neighbor to the north. Lets remember, Austin before WWII was about the size San Marcos is today. U.T. like Texas State sits in the middle of town, U.T. like Texas State gobbled up sourounding neighborhoods to expand, anyone old enough to remember the Villa Capre Motel? U.T. finally got to where it could not expand anymore, so it stopped. The enrollment is capped at around 50,000, and has stayed that way for years.

    I wlould have preffered Texas state had stopped at 25,000 or 30,000, but it didn’t, it now at 35,000. O.K., we can live with that, it a nice round figure. How about we now cap it, say enough is enough, 35,000 is enough. It will mean Texas State will not get any bigger, it will not meant Texas State will not get any better.

  9. Their master plan projects to at least 40,000. I don’t know what they are shooting for beyond that. I’d love to see the school hit 50,000, but even more, I’d love to see the city and the university really build a strong relationship, where they are working together to address the challenges that we all face, like those Keith mentioned. The potential benefits for all stakeholders are staggering.

    Better town and gown relations, can mean more non-students moving to town (currently, the mentality is that “they should know what they are getting, moving to a college town, and they do know, so they stay away). More non-students can draw more employers. More employers means more opportunities for graduates. More opportunities for graduates means more graduates staying in San Marcos. More graduates in San Marcos means a stronger economy for San Marcos, and likely more donations from alumni who haven’t moved on and forgotten about the university.

    Better town and gown relations will also create an environment where students feel more like they “belong” here. More students feeling like they belong, leads to more students and graduates wanting to give back to the community, which can lead to more alumni starting businesses here, more students volunteering for local organizations, etc.

    Better town and gown relations can also lead to a sense that the university is part of the community, which can lead to more local support. Local fans help to improve the sports programs at the university and young local fans can develop aspirations to attend their favorite school on the hill, leading perhaps to greater student/parent involvement in our kids’ educations.

    That’s just scratching the surface of what is possible, if we work together. If we work together, I’d love to see the university hit 100,000 students.

  10. Well I’ve always been one that believes quality is better than quantitiy. I would be horrified by Texas State, or U.T. for that matter, having 100,000 students at it’s main campus. Ted, here is an idea I think we can agree on. Texas State wants to enhance it’s reputation, great. We want Texas State to do things that benifit San Marcos as a whole, and brings more high paying jobs to the community. How about the Texas State University School of Medicine.

  11. Sadly Larry they chose to put their medical profession school in Round Rock… which causes many of those kids with medical based majors to transfer to different schools, since they don’t want to have to commute or move to round rock as a Texas State student… the university really dropped the ball on that one in my opinion

  12. There was a very strategic purpose behind placing the nursing facility in Round Rock as it is a strong partner with, and indeed named after, a hospital system with very strong ties to the Austin area.

    As for a school of medicine, that is a very costly venture and you would certainly see a substantial tuition increase for any and all students. There is also simply no economic base, whether governmental or private in nature, which could support such an ambitious project for at least 10-15 years in my opinion. I would love to say that all of us alum would help but a look at our overall participation rate in most funding initiatives does not leave me hopeful. Finally, we would certainly need more support from the state legislature.

    Our College of Health Professions has a stellar reputation and includes one of the best and most competitive physical therapy programs in the state. The university is really focused on developing its doctoral arena and I am sure that along the way a professional schools or two will pop up……..eventually.

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