Special to the E-T

Tarleton State University reported a record enrollment of 9,360 students as classes began on Monday. These numbers reflect a 9 percent increase compared with the same date last year. This is the largest freshman class in Tarleton’s 111 year history.

First-time freshmen enrollments show a dramatic increase of 20 percent with a total of 1,487 new freshmen. New transfer student enrollments total 1,010, which is an increase of 11 percent.

Denise Groves, dean of enrollment management and registrar, cited several factors contributing to the growth.

“The entire Tarleton community is committed to spreading the word that students can obtain a fine education at a university offering one of the best values in Texas, when considering the cost of tuition and fees. Our recruiters have traveled the state communicating with prospective students the value of pursuing a higher education degree,” Groves said.

Groves also said that Tarleton is ranked in the lower half of state universities in terms of cost and in the upper half in terms of graduation rates. A new software system has been implemented which allows for targeted personalized communications with prospective students. The software directly impacted admission application and enrolled yield by providing timely and relevant information to prospective students.

"The recruiting and admissions software allowed us to keep our finger on the pulse of growth rate, enabling our team to be more proactive in planning around housing and course demand," Groves said. "With the capability of tying the financial aid process to both solutions, we were able to increase our level of service to the student beyond admission, following up on aid and orientation activities.”

Among ethnic groups, Hispanic and black/non-hispanic enrollments were up 12 percent, American Indian/Alaskan natives increased 28 percent, and white/non-hispanic recorded a rise of 7 percent. Sixty percent of the students are female.

Other enrollment figures revealed 878 students are taking classes at the Southwest Metroplex (Fort Worth) site, and 749 students are registered at Tarleton’s Waco campus. The remainder of the fall semester enrollment is on the Stephenville campus. Almost 2,900 students are enrolled in one or more online courses.

A preliminary survey of other four-year state universities revealed Tarleton is experiencing a larger enrollment increase, especially among first-time freshmen. A national Noel-Levitz survey noted Tarleton exceeded the 75th percentile in terms of the growth in admission applications. This fall’s increase comes on the heels of another record enrollment just last fall, when 8,598 students were registered at Tarleton.