UTEP enrollment slightly down, retention rate up

Wilson said students likely delayed enrolling in classes because of COVID

Anahy Diaz, Copy Editor

UTEP is reporting an enrollment of 24,879 students for the Fall 2020 semester which is a 1.2% decrease in head-count enrollment from Fall 2019, but the university is also reporting an increase in its retention rate.

According to a news release, the institution’s overall semester credit hour production is up 2,185 credit hours, a 0.4% increase from Fall 2019’s count of 263,739 credit hours. The university saw an increase of 3.9% in enrollment among sophomores, a 3.3% increase among juniors and an increase of 3.4% among seniors. 

“We were pleased to see record-high retention and an increase in semester credit hours,” UTEP President Heather Wilson said in a news release. “The growth in these areas demonstrates that our students are working hard to earn their degrees. We’re proud of these talented, resilient Miners.” 

The news comes a few weeks after UTEP’s Summer 2020 semester came to an end, where the university reported a historic 15% increase in head-count enrollment. According to a public statement from the university, 12,981 students enrolled in both Summer I and Summer II terms, for a total of 87,365 semester credit hours being taken by students remotely.  

“I want to commend our students for being dedicated to reaching their educational goals, and thank our faculty and staff for their tireless work in helping them stay on track to earn their degrees,” said Gary Edens, vice president for student affairs at UTEP.  

Although this semester’s credit hours are up slightly, head-count enrollment is down from the 25,177 figure for Fall 2019. Wilson said in a news release that this is entirely due to students who graduated from high school, applied to college, but are delaying their freshman year due to the pandemic. 

“We know who these students are,” said Wilson, as UTEP also saw a decrease in first-time transfer students.  “And we will focus specifically on that cohort of about 450 students who should have started college this month and have not done so because of the pandemic. As a community, we cannot afford to leave them behind. They will need a meaningful post-secondary credential to make a better life for themselves and their families.” 

Anahy Diaz may be reached at [email protected]; @by_anahydiaz on Twitter.