The Old College Try Slackens in Texas

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Though Texas A&M University-San Antonio remains the fastest-growing public university in the state, enrollment growth at many Texas colleges and universities has slackened in recent years.

Compared to the rapid statewide growth between 2008 and 2009, which added nearly 122,000 students, Texas' enrollment grew by a measly 12,089 students between fall 2011 and this fall, according to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board preliminary figures.

That pace may be too slow to reach the state's 2015 college participation goals, said Raymund Paredes, the state's commissioner of higher education.

The coordinating board has a goal of adding 630,000 college students in Texas from 2000 to 2015, to raise enrollment to 1,650,000 students and bring Texas to parity with other large states. But it's still more than 85,000 students short of that.

Though there are bright spots in the San Antonio region, overall enrollment is headed in the wrong direction to help meet that goal. And officials at area schools said the drive to increase student numbers could conflict with their efforts to improve retention and graduation rates.

At 11 area colleges and universities, combined enrollment dropped by 1,887 students, or 1.2 percent, according to preliminary numbers.

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