Freshman class of 2016 expected to break record

News Reporter

The Texas State freshman class of 2016 is set to be the largest group yet with a 13.2 percent increase from last year.

Michael Heintze, associate vice president for enrollment management, said over 24,000 students have applied. So far, 14,000 have been accepted. Texas State is the fourth-largest school in Texas.

“We have become an ‘it’ school,” he said.

Heintze estimates a total of 26,900 students will apply by May 1, the deadline for incoming freshmen.

The size goal for the freshman class is 5,400-5,500 students, Heintze said. Last year’s freshman class had 5,357 students.

However, Heintze does not expect every accepted student to enroll. The average high school senior applies to three universities.

“I think we are becoming a first-choice university,” said Dan Brown, University College dean and director for the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (P.A.C.E.) Center.

Brown and Heintze agree the campus and surrounding environment factor into Texas State’s growth.

Angelita Segura is a junior at Elgin High School and is considering attending Texas State in the future.

“I like the community and the all-around energy that surrounds the campus,” Segura said. “Everyone seems to get along, and it has a nice, cozy feel. Oh, and the river, of course.”

Heintze believes the university will reach its freshman enrollment goal. He estimates the university will also meet its transfer goal of 3,800-3,900 students. Transfer applications are up five percent from last year.

The exact enrollment numbers will not be known until all freshmen have registered for classes during the last New Student Orientation (NSO) session.

Brown said 3,725 students have signed up for NSO, which is a six percent increase from last year.

Brown said 24 NSO sessions will be held, each with over 300 openings. This year’s schedule has four sessions a week as well as two Cat Camps.

Heintze expects the freshman class will be record-breaking.

“We are very pleased,” he said.

Segura has thought about the size of the freshman class. Her high school’s graduating class is just over 300 students.

“(The size of the freshman class) is a little intimidating,” Segura said. “But in the long run, I’ll be making more friends and connections, so I say the more the merrier.”

Brown and Heintze are members of the university’s enrollment council. Council members have been working with deans and department heads to ensure the campus is ready to accommodate the larger class size.

Heintze said the deans are considering hiring new faculty. He said additional sections of some classes will be offered at varying times to deal with the growth.

“Texas State is so ahead of the game,” Brown said. “It’s important that we are ready to respond (to growth).”

About 50 percent of freshmen had a peer mentor during the 2014-2015 school year, Brown said. He hopes to expand that number by hiring 8-10 new peer mentors. Brown is monitoring the enrollment number and will hire another P.A.C.E. adviser if necessary.

There will be 267 sections of the University Seminar class, Brown said.

Brown is confident the university will be able to adequately support the larger class.

“Every class is different,” Brown said. “We need to be ready to respond to that on the fly. Texas State is very good at that.”

Brown said he expects an “improved” graduation rate as a result of the increased enrollment size.

Texas State will continue to grow in the future, Heintze said.

“The State of Texas has asked public universities to grow their enrollment so that we produce more graduates to grow the workforce,” he said.

Heintze said the benefit of increased growth among public universities is a large, trained labor force that draws international and domestic business to Texas.

“Our approach to growth has always been controlled,” Heintze said. “We want to increase our enrollment but practically.”