Record 2014 freshman class drives enrollment toward 11,500

By Carol-Lynn Shelby—

Tarleton’s record-breaking fall 2014 freshman class is the university’s biggest ever – more than 2,000 new students.

As of Aug. 13, new first time students total  2,120, says Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management Javier Garza,

“That is an increase of 14 percent over the same time last year,” Garza added.

The current total for the freshman class, which includes students who were previously enrolled in college but hadn’t reached sophomore level, is 2,678.  That’s an increase of 7.8 percent compared to last year at this time.

With this many students coming onto campus, students and parents have been worried about housing arrangements for the fall.

Shelly Conboy-Brown, associate director of Residential Living and Learning at TSU, believes that this number could possibly create difficulties on the residential level. An anticipated 90 percent of the first year students intend to live on campus for the fall semester. This number has increased over the years and the increase drives the concern for future issues with residential living.

“That increase continues to pose a challenge and requires continuous occupancy management to accommodate our new students,” said Conboy-Brown.

At summer orientations, word spread that there are more than 1,000 students who currently do not have housing.

Ben Kunze, assistant director of Residential Living and Learning, said the university has more than enough rooms to accommodate the class of 2018 as well as returning students.

“We have already made accommodations for the housing overflow by letting incoming sophomores that met the GPA requirement to reside off campus,” Kunze said. “I look forward to this coming year.”

Last year the university began constructing Heritage Hall, the new residence hall  that will be ready for the fall of 2014 and will house over 450 students.

The university’s 2020 master plan calls for additional construction to house almost 500 more students.

“Tarleton has added new services and programs to encourage students to persist with their education,” said Conboy-Brown. “We will open a 512 bed facility to make room for new, first year students.”

Tarleton officials hope to see a total of 11,500 on campus this fall. Projected enrollment for fall 2014 as of Aug. 3 was 11,083 – an increase of 9.1 percent over last year.

Garza said the university is hoping to eventually have 15,000 students.

“Tarleton recently adopted its Strategic Enrollment Plan,” Garza said. “In that document, we indicate current trends suggesting that our enrollment in 2020 will be 14,650.  The Strategic Enrollment Management Executive Committee (SEMEC) more ambitiously set a goal of achieving a total headcount of 15,000 by 2020.”

Texan News intern Isaac Foster contributed to this report.

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