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Volume 71, Issue 61, Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Overall, enrollment keeping level

Gains seen in transfers, international students; 
new freshmen coming to UH with better scores

By Jessica Robertson
Senior Staff Writer

Enrollment numbers for Fall 2005 did not increase dramatically from the previous year, but improved enrollment initiatives have brought more transfer students, international students and freshmen with higher entrance exam scores to UH. 

More than 35,000 students were enrolled this fall, including 26,959 undergraduates and 5,240 graduate students. 

Although this number represents only a slight increase in enrollment from Fall 2004, the Office of Admissions has increased its efforts in the last year to recruit more diverse students and honors freshmen. The Honors College's growing popularity with prospective students in the area contributed to the college's increased enrollment this year.

"This year's class is really enthusiastic about the University and their experience here," said Melanie Barr-Fitzpatrick, an admissions counselor at the Honors College. "We offer some of the same options to getting an enriched education (as other universities), while going to a state institution."

The Honors College works with the admissions office to invite students with high entrance exam scores and high school grade point averages to recruiting events. The college hosted an open house in January to show its new space in the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library to prospective students.

"People seemed very impressed with the space," Barr-Fitzpatrick said. "An attractive place makes an attractive space and gives the Honors College increased visibility on campus and to prospective students."

Other enhancements on campus in the last several years, including improved campus housing, have made UH a popular choice for a wider variety of students, Jeff Fuller, assistant director of freshman recruitment in the Office of Admissions, said.

More than 3,100 transfer students enrolled this fall, including 415 displaced students. The admissions office hopes to enroll at least 1,900 transfer students in the spring and 2,800 next fall, Assistant Director of Admissions Jose Cantu said. Although displaced students impacted enrollment this semester, Cantu said he does not expect as many to apply and enroll in future semesters.

Both transfer students and incoming freshmen are invited to visit the campus during open house recruitment events, including the annual Cougar Preview held in November. 

"Once they come to the campus, they get a feel for it and want to come here," Fuller said. 

A nationwide trend of students opting to attend a university closer to home also contributes to increased enrollment, Fuller said. More than 21,000 enrolled students in Fall 2005 were from Harris County.

The University is also increasing enrollment internationally, according to a Houston Chronicle report from this month. UH ranked in the top 20 nationally in foreign enrollment despite a 1.2 percent decline this semester.

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