By Gloria Petit / @GloriPetit
Texas A&M University-San Antonio fell short of enrollment projections this semester, but recruiters say they are working diligently to increase the number of students who attend the upper-division university by the next academic year.
The Jan. 28 census date headcount of 4,211 students is 311 students fewer than last semester’s peak enrollment.
The university is asking for funds in the 84th Legislative Session, but headcount and student credit hours play a significant role in how much funding the university receives from the state.
“Every year a budget is set through financial services and a lot of that depends on how many students are enrolled at the university,” said Melissa Mahan, vice president for student affairs.
Eric Cooper, assistant vice president for enrollment management, says despite seeing the decrease in enrollment, the university saw graduation numbers grow.
“Last year, we had 552 students graduate,” Cooper said. “So in turn, the university reached its highest number for graduation rates.”
In reaction to the decline in enrollment for the university and across the nation, A&M-San Antonio administrators are working to increase enrollment by improving recruitment.
Director of admissions Chryssa Delgado said recruiters are well-equipped to attract and build relationships with prospective students than they have in the past.
Recruiters now have training to give full degree evaluations to potential transfer students and now want to use social media to boost excitement about acceptance into the university.
When Delgado began her position last year, she placed a larger focus on training recruiters to give full degree evaluations on site at location during visits with prospective transfer students.
Before this strategy, recruiters would have to refer potential students to a transfer advisor which would take more time, she said.
Recruiters also hope to use social media as way to “provide a sense of belonging and community before [our] prospective or admitted students set foot on campus,” Delgado said.
Delgado and recruiters plan to create presence on social media by creating a hashtag for students who are accepted into the university. Students accepted into the university can post their acceptance letters on Instagram and use the hashtag to create branding.
Cooper said he hopes to see students and alumni involved in the recruiting strategies as well.
“We hope to include students and alumni,” he said. “We would especially love to have alumni help with this project, because then it gives future students a first-hand account of what it was like to attend classes here.”
“We want to increase enrollment and I’m excited to see what’s going to happen in the fall, because I know there have been significant changes,” Delgado said.