Texas A&M enrollment surpasses UT

Reanna Zuniga

For the first time, Texas A&M has the highest enrollment among state universities, surpassing UT.

A&M enrolled 53,672 students for the fall semester, while UT enrolled 52,076.

Shane Hinckley, interim vice president for marketing and communications at A&M, said factors that contributed prominently to increased enrollment were the addition of new programs and the university’s overall affordability. A&M’s estimated average cost of attendance for students entering this semester is $21,581 per academic year, according to its financial aid website. UT’s cost varies by major, but can cost up to $27,096 per academic year.

“The university has numerous fields that attract students with a diverse set of interests from engineering disciplines to agriculture and performance studies,” Hinckley said. “With the recent additions of the Health Science Center and the School of Law, we are one of the most diversified universities in the country.”

A&M also admitted 9,710 first-year students this semester, the largest freshman class in its history.

Hinckley said the university’s science, technology, engineering and math program helped boost the number of freshman applicants who were accepted.

“The planned growth of the College of Engineering is a major reason for the increase in the freshman class,” Hinckley said.

Hinckley said the Aggie football team’s performance has aided in making the university more perceptible.

“Increased visibility has certainly helped the university,” he said.  “But it is just one of many factors.”

Because of the increase in student population, Hinckley said the average class size will have to increase, but said the quality of education will not suffer as the university accommodates more students.

“We continue to invest in our faculty and continue to innovate in transforming the educational experience to create a better learning environment for all enrolled at Texas A&M,” he said.

Although UT ranks second with enrollment at 52,076, the University has the most successful four-year graduation rate in the state which stands at 52 percent. A&M’s four-year graduate rate is second at 50.7 percent.

Kedra Ishop, UT vice provost and director of admissions, said the University is dedicated to increasing four-year graduation rates and said that goal can be accomplished by giving students the exceptional academic experience they’re seeking.

Ishop also pointed to the University’s record retention rate this year of 93.6 percent, up from 93.2 percent last year.

“There have already been early indicators of success,” Ishop said. “A record high one-year retention rate shows that that commitment is beginning to work.”