COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Texas A&M University enrollment stands at a record 58,809, which ranks it first in Texas, according to informal tabulations, and likely is among the five largest and most diversified institutions of higher education in the nation.
University officials note part of the large overall increase this fall is the result of the acquisition of a Fort Worth-headquartered law school, formerly Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, and the return of the medical program—the Texas A&M Health Science Center (HSC)—to the university's administrative structure.
In addition to overall gains, the university is reporting records for minority students and for those pursuing graduate degrees.
The number of women at the once all-male school now exceeds 25,000, a milestone reached as Texas A&M commemorates the 50th anniversary of enrollment of the first women on the College Station campus and events leading up to admittance of the first African-American students.
In addition to overall enrollment being at a record level, the university's main-campus enrollment is at an all-time high of 53,672, which informal tabulations also indicate is the most for any single campus in Texas.Texas A&M's main campus enrollment was 50,227 last fall.
The figures reflect enrollment as of Friday, (Sept.20), the 20th class day, the date for reporting official figures to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Officials in Texas A&M's Data and Research Services (DARS) anticipate little change between the figures reported that date and when the Coordinating Board formally certifies enrollments for the fall semester.
With the addition of the law school and the five HSC units, Texas A&M is now diversified to an extent matched by few other universities in the nation, officials note, with it now including 16 colleges and schools. Additionally, it operates two branch campuses: marine-oriented Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) and Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), which has an engineering focus.
Comparative figures for universities elsewhere in the state and nation are not immediately available, but university officials anticipate the gains will, in all probability, move Texas A&M up at least one or two spots nationally from its sixth-place ranking last fall.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin notes the gains in enrollment can be attributed to severalfactors, including numerous reports and rankings reflecting the university's affordability combined with a high-quality education. Increased visibility for the university across the nation and assessments about how well the institution's graduates fare in the marketplace.
"Our goal is not to be the largest university, but we are obviously proud that for the past several years more and more young men and women have come to recognize the excellent education and experiences that Texas A&M offers," Loftin observes, adding the national consensus is that Texas A&M is among the most affordable institutions in its top-tier peer group.
He points out the university's enrollment this fall includes students from 239 of the state's 254 counties, and he expressed pride that, as has been the case for many years, approximately 25 percent of this year's freshmen are the first in their immediate families to attend college.
"We are privileged to attract high-achieving students, so we have a special obligation to help them excel academically while also providing them opportunities to develop leadership skills that will serve them well after graduation, Loftin states. "Whether in College Station, Galveston or Qatar, or now elsewhere in the state, our primary goal is, and will always be, to ensure that we effectively utilize the resources entrusted to us to provide our students with the very best education."
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Karan Watson cites contributions from personnel throughout the university for its successes this year.
"This year we benefitted from great university visibility and from incredible efforts by recruiters, financial aid officers, and from academic colleges' personnel to ensure potential students received the information they needed in deciding where to invest their money and time for an education," Watson states. "We are honored that so many students choose Texas A&M University and we are committed to meeting their high expectations."
TAMUG has a record enrollment of 2,177, compared to 2,015 last fall, while TAMUQ enrollment stands at 543, compared to 545 last fall.
HSC, which has in recent years operated as a separate unit within The Texas A&M University System but was administratively reunited with the university earlier this year, enrolls 2,417 students in its five units: College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Public Rural Health, Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas and the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy in Kingsville.
The Texas A&M University School of Law has 770 students enrolled.
Student demographics continue to evolve at Texas A&M. Students who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino reached the highest levels to date on the main campus, totaling 10,067 or approximately 17.4 percent of the total student population. African-American student enrollment totals 2,011, approximately 3.4 percent of the student body. Overall ethnic/minority enrollment now exceeds 25 percent of the total, university officials point out.
Other key main-campus enrollment figures (all reflecting records or near-records):
Women: 27,341, representing more than 47 percent of the student body
Graduate students—those pursuing either master's or doctorates; 10,962
International students, many of them pursing graduate degrees: 5,417
Transfer students: 2,360
Blinn Team students (those co-registered at Blinn College): 1,177
The report to the Coordinating Board reflects only students for which Texas A&M receives state funding, university officials note. It does not includes students enrolled at the Texas A&M branch campus in Qatar, students pursuing degrees by distance education who are taking courses from out of state or other non-funded students. University officials point out that operation of the Qatar campus is fully funded by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.