Strategic Enrollment Procedures Lead to Best Freshman Class in UH’s History

Recent legislative initiatives have placed a growing emphasis on performance funding models for higher education – shifting the emphasis to graduating students, not just enrolling them.

The University of Houston has embraced that approach, enacting strategic enrollment procedures that focus on student success and degrees produced, rather than student head count.UHPennant

The result has produced the most impressive freshman class in UH’s history, based on SAT scores and high school class rank.

The University’s conscious effort to move away from enrollment-based recruiting to graduation-based recruiting is reflected in a three-fold strategy:

•    Building an even stronger partnership with community colleges. Advising students who start at a community college to complete their first year or, if possible, both years, there before transferring to UH. It is affordable, faster and ensures better college completion.
•    Recruiting with an eye on students’ ability to persist and graduate at UH. This year UH did not admit transfer students if they were not eligible to enter the degree programs of their choice.
•    Retaining a higher percentage of students by improving their orientation and advising experience. The first-year retention rate at UH has increased steadily each year and has exceeded the target for this year.

In attracting its best freshman class, while also reaching its target of recruiting 3,300 first-year students, UH’s preliminary 2013 enrollment based on the 12th day of class is 39,503. There are 31,598 undergraduates and 7,905 graduate students enrolled.

Students this fall are taking a slightly higher number of semester credit hours, on average, and the quality of UH’s transfer class has strengthened, as these students compiled a GPA above 3.0, on average. These attributes lay a strong foundation to achieve the goal of improved retention and graduation rates.

“The University’s reputation as a place for a first-class education continues to grow,” said UH System Chancellor and UH President Renu Khator. “The strategic admission procedures we have put in place are one approach UH has implemented to ensure that the students we recruit are academically prepared to benefit from the Tier One-quality programs we offer. Our plan to recruit the best and brightest students is paying off.”

UH’s enrollment plan projects a controlled growth that is complementary to the aggressive growth plans at its sister universities in the UH System. This approach ensures that the overall System objective to remain accessible for the general community has been met. The success of that effort is reflected in total fall enrollment increases at UH-Clear Lake and UH-Victoria, as well as a significant increase of 29.5 percent in graduate enrollment at UH-Downtown.

Total preliminary fall enrollment at the UH System is 65,625. Enrollment is 13,355 at UH-Downtown, 8,251 at UH-Clear Lake and 4,516 at UH-Victoria. UHV’s total marks the 16th consecutive fall the University has recorded a new enrollment record. The latest milestone was achieved in UHV’s 40th anniversary year.

“Accessibility will always be important for us,” she said. “As a System, we are committed to closing educational gaps in Texas in student participation, student success, excellence and research. In tandem with our graduation-based approach to recruiting, legislators and state taxpayers have a level of assurance that we are providing a greater return on their investment.”