Texas State has broken its student enrollment record for 17 consecutive years and this year is no exception.
Student enrollment increased by 1,267 students this fall, a 3.4 percent rise since last year, according to preliminary enrollment management data.
University officials are planning to adjust on-campus residential life and parking to accommodate the upward trajectory of enrollment numbers.
Texas State has long been known as one of the most diverse universities in the state. Preliminary enrollment data shows the diversification of the student body has not yet plateaued.
The university’s minority population has increased by 2 percent this year, bringing minority representation on campus to 49 percent.
Additionally, the Hispanic student population has increased by 13.2 percent, which is this year’s greatest increase of a demographic in the campus community. The data shows a 9.2 and 8.8 percent increase in the Asian and African-American populations respectively.
“We have been a leader in the state in terms of embracing diversity,” said Michael Heintze, vice president of enrollment management and marketing.
Heintze said the demographic breakdown of Texas State represents the diverse array of people in the state. More minorities are graduating and looking to attend universities, and some are first-year students.
Heintze said the freshman class’ 6.9 percent growth accounts for the majority of the increase in enrollment.
The gap between male and female enrollment continued to grow this year, he said.
Female enrollment increased by 4.9 percent and male enrollment increased by 1.6 percent, according to enrollment data. In 2014 there were 4,965 more female students than in previous years. This year, there are 5,734 more female students than have ever been enrolled in university history.
Rosanne Proite, director of Housing and Residential Life, said the university is “constantly working” to sustain the ever-increasing number of students where on-campus living is concerned.
The university’s 23 residence halls and Bobcat Village can accommodate 6,826 students, Proite said. The halls are currently operating at 99-100 percent capacity. Some students—mainly men—often have to be set up in temporary housing, such as modified conference rooms in the dorms.
Proite said she expects the new dormitory on Moore Street, set to open in 2016, to have all 598 beds occupied. She said transfer and returning students make up only 15 percent of residence hall occupants, but that the Department of Housing and Residential Life had to turn away many of these students.
Twenty-two new parking spaces will open when the Moore Street complex opens, according to data provided by Parking Services.
Although there are currently only 3,069 green-permit parking spaces available for students residing on campus, and Parking Services sold 3,412 permits for those spots.
“One thing we are doing is going into residence halls in the fall and preparing students to move into apartments in the following year,” Proite said.
Proite said freshmen are given “priority” when it comes to who can live on campus because university officials feel freshmen are more likely to succeed if they live on campus for their first year.
Heintze said there has been an increase of academic success this year as well. The university’s retention rate increased from 76 percent in 2013 to 78.2 percent the following year.
“(Texas State is) a village,” Heintze said. “We want everyone to be successful.”
Heintze said the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration program and other efforts put in place by the university are responsible for retention rate increase.
Proite said an additional residence hall will likely be added in the next two or three years to accommodate more students as university enrollment expands. Multiple residence halls will soon be renovated so they can continue to be used for housing, she said.
Retama will be closed next year while it undergoes a $10 million renovation.
Proite said officials are looking to possibly close Arnold, Smith, Hornsby and Burleson Halls. She said the university does not profit from student housing because all of the money paid by students is used to maintain, operate or improve the residence halls.
Liberal Arts remained the largest college at the university, with 16.4 percent of students being in this field. Science and Engineering had the most growth at 11.2 percent.
“We are excited about this growth,” Heintze said. “We put a lot into recruiting and retaining students.”