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Goal of 11,000 students in 2011 showing promise


By Scott Harvey

Commerce – The fall semester is shaping up quite well at Texas A&M University-Commerce, as officials report they are on pace for yet another record-setting year for enrollment.

"Enrolment increase is projected about 15 percent ahead of the same time last year," says Vice President for Student Access and Success Dr. Mary Hendrix. "So certainly projecting that on out, knowing what our enrollment was in the fall of 2010 - when we did reach 10,000 - we're certainly anticipating an enrollment of 11,000 as a minimum."

Last year's record enrolment was official recognized as 10,280 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Hendrix says achieving the 11,000 student milestone is huge in moving the university forward.

"What it does is build capacity here on our campus. Where we're seeing this strong enrollment growth is at the freshmen level and sophomore level, and I think you just have a more vibrant campus life which benefits us all I think as a city and as a university."

She credits the university's commitment to customer service and a new residence hall set for completion by this fall to the increase. Hendrix strongly encourages all students to register as quickly as possible as classes are filling up based on the trend they're seeing.

"We're already seeing families scrambling for who gets to be in the new one [residence hall]. It is what today's students really want and being able to offer those services and those facilities to them makes all the difference in the world."

The enrollment boost is expected to help alleviate some budget concerns due to recent cuts to higher education state-wide. Some $3 million was saved in the university budget with last year's record enrollment.

Hendrix says next year's budget is based on a three percent increase, and anything over that allows the university to focus on innovation; hire additional faculty and staff, plus puts the campus in a good position financially to sustain growth long-term.