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UHV enrollment figures stagnant, perhaps because of vaccine requirement

Feb. 6, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 5, 2012 at 8:06 p.m.


UHV HISTORY

UHV opened in 1973 with about 100 students and has since grown to a university offering face-to-face, online and Interactive Television courses at its Victoria campus and two UH System teaching centers in Fort Bend County. Freshmen and sophomores started classes on the Victoria campus in fall 2010 after the university was granted permission to expand to a full destination university.

UHV first exceeded the 3,000-student mark in fall 2008 when 3,174 students enrolled at the university and then reached another milestone in fall 2010 when enrollment went more than 4,000. Fall 2011 enrollment at UHV reached 4,330, an increase of 5.7 percent from the previous fall.

Preliminary spring enrollment figures for the University of Houston-Victoria remain nearly equal to the previous spring.

UHV released a preliminary spring enrollment figure of 4,184 earlier this week compared with a final spring enrollment figure of 4,188 in 2011. Out of the 181 freshmen who started at UHV in the fall, 162 returned for the spring semester.

"We are pleased that despite challenges with the new Texas requirement that all students under age 30 get a bacterial meningitis vaccine, our enrollment has remained almost the same," UHV President Phil Castille said. "We also are happy with our freshmen retention efforts and will continue to work closely with all of our students so that they remain successful."

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is watching the impact that the new bacterial meningitis vaccine requirement has on community college and university enrollments across the state.

UHV had more than 450 students accepted to the university in the spring who did not provide any bacterial meningitis information and did not enroll. UH-Downtown estimates it had more than 800 students who lacked the needed certification to enroll in the spring.

"We are looking at the new law as one reason our spring enrollment numbers remained flat," Castille said.

UHV is considering a partnership with a private clinic to provide the vaccine for students at a reduced cost.

"We are certainly interested in providing low-cost options so that our students can meet the new state requirement," said Jeffrey Cass, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. "We don't want students to experience any road blocks in achieving their dreams of obtaining a higher education."

Spring enrollment at UHV has increased 44 percent since 2008 when 2,896 students enrolled. The university's spring enrollment surpassed 4,000 for the first time in 2011.

Final spring enrollment figures and a breakdown of student demographics will be released later in the semester after certification from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

"Students are hearing about the quality education they can get at UHV," Castille said. "The future looks bright for UHV."

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