North Texas Daily

UNT enrollment, media presence on the rise

UNT enrollment, media presence on the rise

UNT enrollment, media presence on the rise
September 24
07:59 2013

Joshua Knopp / Senior Staff Writer

Enrollment at UNT continued to grow this year, with attendance this semester increasing to 36,223 students registered for classes.

Though Chancellor Lee Jackson said enrollment has been growing for at least a decade without decline, news promotion manager Buddy Price said the increase was on the low end of what the college was expecting by this time. Last fall’s enrollment was 35,778 – this year’s increase represents about 1 percent growth.

Price said a number of factors contribute to UNT’s increase in enrollment.

“More and more high school and community college students are recognizing UNT as an excellent school that’s competitively priced and, for many, it’s close to home,” he said. “In addition, the economy has improved, which helps students pay for school and helps UNT provide assistance to students.”

Price also said that UNT ‘s continued efforts to keep more kids in school has also contributed to the university’s growth.

The university has seen an increase in the number of black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Island and American Indian students in the past year as well. With 513 students, UNT has the largest American Indian student population of any four-year school in Texas.

UNT’s increased social media presence is another contributor to the growth. Senior director of communication systems and digital marketing Kenn Moffitt said UNT has the fifth-largest Facebook following among Texas universities, behind the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and Baylor University. UNT’s Facebook broke 108,000 likes yesterday.

“I think it is an indicator that people are proud of UNT,” Moffitt said. “We appreciate the audience and do everything in our power to provide customer service. The team works nights and weekends to try and give [social media followers] what they need and provide the best service possible.”

Moffitt said UNT’s online presence extends to other media, with a news-oriented Twitter account at more than 10,000 followers alongside a customer service-oriented Twitter with less than 1,000. Moffitt said the school’s Instagram, which currently has 2,000 followers, will launch a more robust strategy soon.

Moffitt also pointed to UNT’s private social network as something that helps with enrollment. The private network is a Facebook and mobile application that connects students. All potential students are invited as well. Moffitt said she estimated that about 30 percent join, and of those, 90 percent end up enrolling.

“It allows new students to make friends before they ever set foot on campus,” Moffitt said. “Starting college or moving to a new place can be hard. The private social network makes this easier for students by helping them meet new people and get answers from their peers. It provides support for incoming students in a way that we couldn’t offer before social media.”

Students may connect to the network at social.unt.edu.

Jackson said the growth matches an overall trend in enrollment over the past few years. Jackson said from 2002 to 2005 UNT was one of the fastest-growing schools in the state, but the growth has tapered off in recent years. Jackson said this allows the Board of Regents to focus on precisely improving the university to new students’ needs.

“The question is just how fast to we want to go from where we are now, 36,000, to 45,000,” Jackson said. “I think the answer right now is that quality is more important than growth.”

UNT anticipates reaching 45,000 students by 2016 in its master plan. If the growth repeats at 1 percent, the university will reach 37,300 students by that time.

Feature photo courtesy of UNT Engineering 

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