ODESSA, Texas — The University of Texas Permian Basin recently announced it has seen it’s enrollment grow 7% for this spring compared to last year.
The university has also seen students taking more semester credit hours, that leads to graduating quicker, an increase of 10%.
This continues a trend that UTPB is excited about and ready for.
The university currently has 5,316 students enrolled, while already seeing applications and admittance up for this coming fall.
There are several reasons why the Falcons are flying high.
“There [are] so many ways students can connect and find a home at UTPB," said Dr. Becky Spurlock, senior vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UTPB.
As UTPB sees positive growth, additional programs and an increase in quality academic programs offered are reasons why.
“We’ve made investments in our nursing labs and our facilities in engineering, in a number of our programs in education, for example," said Spurlock. "But, I think more and more, people in the Permian Basin are just realizing what a fantastic and affordable education they can get right in their own backyard.”
Part of what makes UTPB affordable is it’s 'Falcon Free' program in financial aid.
About 40% of current undergraduates qualify and are on the program, which has been a game-changer for those in the area.
“That is the biggest barrier to most people completing a college degree, it’s financial resources," said Spurlock. "That’s why our 'Falcon Free' program is so important. Families that make $100,000 a year or less, their children can come to school and have their mandatory tuition and fees covered.”
Spurlock gave credit to the program for contributing to the growth in enrollment.
The investments and commitment the university has made toward student experiences have played a role as well.
“Students here are at a world-class institution, but they’re going to be in small campus classes, right," said Spurlock. "They’re going to have an advisor. They’re going to be known and know their faculty, and all of those experiences help people feel connected.”
Those opportunities even extend off campus.
“We have added micro-internships," said Spurlock. "We’ve added career experiences. We’ve added leadership experiences. We have a program that funds student travel when they get their student research accepted at conferences. These are just a few of the examples of ways in which we’ve invested in the student experience that really enrich somebody’s time in college, and really help them secure that job after graduation.”
UTPB is also investing in improving capital infrastructure on campus, with renovations to the library and the Center for Engineering and Economic Diversity, or CEED, set to be completed during the spring.