Despite national trend of declining student enrollment, University of Texas institutions report continued increases

Preliminary data shows overall enrollment at University of Texas institutions are up this semester compared to last year’s spring semester, bucking a national trend of declining enrollment associated with COVID-19. Enrollment at the eight UT academic institutions totaled 213,848 this spring, compared to 209,703 in Spring 2020.

According to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, college enrollment is down about 2.9% compared to last spring. But at UT academic institutions, total enrollment grew by almost 2% -- an increase of more than 4,100 students. That continues a trend set in Fall 2020, when enrollment at UT institutions increased approximately 2% from the prior year while enrollment nationwide declined.

UT institutions are committed to providing an affordable education as well as a variety of financial aid programs to remove as many barriers as possible for students. And despite the current challenging job market, earning a college degree is more important than ever, Chancellor James B. Milliken said.

“Texas’ need for a more highly skilled and educated workforce is only going to increase as the population grows and the job market evolves,” Milliken said. “That’s why UT institutions are focused on making a UT degree as attainable and affordable as possible. The pandemic temporarily changed some of the ways instruction is delivered, but it hasn’t changed the quality or the return on investment of a UT degree.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate related to the pandemic has been approximately twice the rate for people who have only a high school diploma compared to those with a four-year degree.

Nationwide, undergraduate enrollment has been responsible for most of the declines, with first-time-in-college enrollment falling by 16.1 percent last fall. By contrast, six of the eight academic UT institutions reported increases for their Fall 2020 freshman classes and four of those institutions – UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley, UT Tyler and UT San Antonio – reported double-digit percentage increases.

Preliminary figures for spring 2021 enrollment indicate increases at five of the eight UT academic institutions: UT Austin, UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley, UT San Antonio and UT Tyler.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of more than 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 3 for most U.S. patents granted in 2019, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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