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Texas A&M University enrollment grows despite pandemic
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Texas A&M University enrollment grows despite pandemic

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Texas A&M University’s fall enrollment is 71,109 — a 1,644 student, or 2.4%, increase from last year’s total of 69,465 students.

The figure includes undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level students in College Station, the Health Science Center and campuses in Galveston and Doha, Qatar. 

It’s a record for fall enrollment, Executive Director of Admissions Chris Reed said, but one that he would classify as moderate growth. 

Since many projections toward the end of the spring semester were showing that higher education institutions would likely be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Reed said A&M ramped up its outreach and recruiting efforts to ensure the school wouldn’t see a dramatic drop in enrollment. 

Reed said that it is hard to say at this point what type of financial benefit the rise in enrollment might have for the university, but said the increase is a blessing. 

“We’re excited that interest in the degrees is still high and that we were able to meet our enrollment goals,” he continued. “Obviously, the future is very uncertain, so knowing that we have our numbers shored up is some comfort to take. But there’s still a lot of work left to do in front of us, and I’m sure a lot of changes we’re going to have to adapt to.”

The flagship campus saw the largest increase — an additional 1,501 students — for an enrollment of 65,684.

According to the university, the enrollment numbers are due in part to planned growth in areas including a 20% increase in transfer students, which saw a record number of 3,458 people. There was also a 34% increase in enrollment at the A&M School of Law. Enrollment in the Higher Education Center in McAllen climbed to 242 students. 

The incoming freshman class also saw additional students, but Reed said it was nowhere close to the increase in transfer students.

The university’s professional student enrollment remains under 15,000 due to a decrease of 85 students because of a drop in international student enrollment. Reed said A&M officials have known that the international student population would be affected by “the current international climate” and restrictions on visas and entry to the country. 

“We continue to push ahead.” Reed said. “The biggest challenge is that so many of the issues that will affect international students are out of our hands — decisions that will be made at the federal level. I think that is just going to be on us to continue to adapt as that guidance comes out in terms of entry restrictions, visa restrictions, and the availability of education to international students.”

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The Health Science Center has enrolled 3,107 students at education sites across Texas, including the College of Dentistry in Dallas, the College of Pharmacy in Kingsville, and Engineering Medicine in Houston, the release states. The Galveston and Doha branch campuses have enrolled 1,656 and 662 students, respectively.

The enrollment numbers are the official 20th class day numbers, the A&M release states, which are reported to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

President Michael K. Young said in a press release that increasing enrollment was a collective effort.

“With the economic uncertainty created by COVID-19, we were all concerned about how that might impact our overall enrollment,” Young said. “We were delighted to see that our numbers increased for both the summer session and the fall semester.”

Two-thirds of all course sections are offered face-to-face and all courses have a remote option.

Col. Byron Stebbins, A&M Corps of Cadets chief of staff, said that as of the first day of class there are 2,305 total students in the Corps. He said 761 are freshmen and that the numbers are about the same as previous years. 

A media relations specialist at the University of Texas at Austin said UT will release its enrollment figures Tuesday. 

The University of Houston also reported a record fall enrollment this year and attributed it to an increase in master’s level students. The school press release says that UH’s total preliminary enrollment is 47,101 students — a 2.1% increase over fall 2019.

Texas State University set a record for its master’s graduate degree enrollment with 1,374 students this fall — a 24.3% increase from last year. The overall enrollment is 37,849 students for fall 2020, which was a 0.99% decrease from last fall.

The Blinn College District registered 17,724 students this semester, according to a school press release. It is a 10.4% drop from the 19,776 total students who were signed up for Blinn courses at this time last year. 

Blinn officials attribute the decreased enrollment to the pandemic, said Richard Bray, the school’s director of communications, media relations and marketing. He pointed out that the school’s fiscal year 2021 budget was designed to withstand a 20% enrollment drop without the need for furloughs and layoffs. 

As of Wednesday, there is a 69.8% increase in online enrollment with 4,223 students. RELLIS Campus enrollment increased 6.5% with 2,751 students. There are 6,774 students on the Bryan campus; 1,961 on the Brenham campus; 95 students on the Schulenberg campus and 53 at the Sealy campus.

Visit today.tamu.edu for more information on A&M enrollment.

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