Students are enrolling in courses at the University of Houston-Victoria five times faster than the state average, according to a report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. State-wide, student enrollment in public universities grew by 1.4 percent from 2004 to 2006; however, UHV experienced a 7.2 percent rise for the same reporting period.
"This is certainly good news for UHV and our service area and reflects positively on many of our recent initiatives," said UHV President Tim Hudson. "Our faculty and staff have worked very hard to inaugurate new and much needed programs such as nursing, economic development, and innovative teacher certification plans. These new degrees, along with our new athletic program and the continuous expansion of our web-based learning opportunities, have helped fuel healthy growth."
The report indicates that UHV’s rate of increase was greater than several larger public universities. For example, Texas State University and Texas A&M in Corpus Christi each saw a 2.9 percent increase while the University of Texas in Austin reportedly suffered a 1.3 percent decline. In addition, the University of Houston and the University of Houston in Clear Lake experienced slight declines in enrollment—1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
"We never lose focus on our students—we are committed to exceeding their expectations and providing them with a high-quality education at a cost that is very reasonable," Hudson said. "We are working to position UHV as a university of choice for a growing number of students."
Melissa Perez, a UHV senior, had a list of things she found appealing about the university.
“The tuition cost is definitely one thing that drew me to UHV. It’s so inexpensive compared to other universities that I looked into,” said Perez. “And I can honestly say that while my tuition was well below other campuses I was considering, the instruction here is top notch. I’ll graduate this December knowing I’ve received a very good education.
“Another thing I liked about UHV is the convenience online courses give me,” said Perez. “They make my day-to-day routine so much easier. It’s good to have that option.”
The online courses UHV offers definitely contributed to the high enrollment rate. In fall 2004, online courses claimed 45.7 percent of the total semester credit hours. Two years later, the popularity of online courses becomes clear as that figure rose to 61.1 percent. These courses—which can be accessed anytime and anywhere there is an Internet connection—gives students the flexibility to tackle a demanding course load, work and a family.
The graduate programs in the UHV School of Business also played a role in the university’s growing enrollment rate. According to Jane Mims, director of services for the UHV School of Business, the semester credit hours generated by graduate business enrollments online increased over 39 percent during the past two years.
Mims also said the graduate online business programs—namely the MS Economic Development and Entrepreneurship and the Global MBA—have become very popular, which helped accelerate UHV’s enrollment.
Popularity has also reached a new discipline at UHV.
“The nursing program has definitely attracted students,” said Dr. Jeanette Hartshorn, UHV director of nursing, “The development of the nursing program was in response to the community needs; the enrollment in the initial class in the fall of 2006 was greater than expected.”
UHV's geographic reach is also expanding as the University of Houston System has asked UHV to accept additional responsibilities in greater Houston. Students attending UHV who live in or near Fort Bend and Harris Counties constituted almost 50 percent of the university’s student body for 2006.
"This all adds up to good news for UHV and validates a great deal of our efforts,” said Hudson. "However, all of us must be concerned about the relatively modest state wide growth at a time when Texas is attempting to enroll a greater percentage of its population in higher education. We all need to close the gaps for the greater good of our citizens."