Enrollment, credit hours on steady rise at SHSU
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 00:10
Sam Houston State University is on a pattern of steady growth according to information released by university officials.
Fall 2012 enrollment is at about 18,478 students, a nearly 5 percent increase from last year’s 17, 417 students according to Heather Thielemann, Ed.D., vice president for enrollment management. Thielemann said the growth includes increases in the number of undergraduate students, new transfer students as well as returning undergraduate and graduate students.
In addition, Thielemann said this this semester brought along the largest freshman class with a 17 percent increase over last year, equaling about 333 more students.
University growth can be attributed to several different factors, said Thielemann.
First, she said more students were applying and being accepted to SHSU between last December and January, an increase she attributes largely to the success of the football team last season.
“We saw about 2500 more applications than last fall,” Thielemann said.
Another reason for the increase has to do with the university marketing strategy.
“We started program marketing last year for twelve undergraduate programs chosen each year for growth by the deans and the provost,” Thielemann said. “There seems to be growth in all of the programs and at least six show ten percent increase [in enrollment] over last year.”
Each of the twelve programs is promoted through online advertising, individualized posters and handouts.
The addition of the Banner system has also helped make the enrollment process easier for students.
“Before, our old system could only hold up to ten to twelve thousand students,” Thielemann said. “Banner [the new system] is very dynamic with new upgrades that we can use. It helps [SHSU] stay on the cutting edge.”
The Banner system manages different aspects of the university processes online such as the admissions, payroll, MySam and DegreeWorks.
Now that Banner has been implemented Thielemann said university officials are working on improving internal efficiency with the management system.
While tuition costs could be a contributing factor to enrollment increases, Jaimie Hebert, Provost for Academic Affairs, said it is difficult to compare SHSU costs with other Texas universities outside of the Texas State University System because of course fees.
Course fees are attached specifically to a course according to Al Hooten, VP for Finance and Operations.
“SHSU and other entities of [the Texas State University System] do not charge course fees,” said Hooten. “… Other entities in Texas, who charge course fees, publish lower tuition and fees than a comparable TSUS entity but make up the difference in revenue by charging course fees. A student enrolled in entities other than a TSUS school may be charged course fees and thus their total bill will often be higher than a comparable TSUS entity.”
With the increase in enrollment comes the increase in semester credit hours, which also is an indicator of university growth, according to Although the numbers are not official, Hebert said the number of credit hours taken has shown a 5 percent increase from 208,564 to 219,285.
“Credit hours are a better measurement of growth because it shows the number of courses we offer,” Hebert said. “As we grow, we offer more courses and that’s actually how we are funded.”
This fall the university opened 248 new sections for students. Hebert added to deal with increases, the university funds each college as if they were hiring new adjunct professors to teach each new section with the hope of adding more professors to a tenure track.
“It’s important to maintain a balance of semester hours offered by tenured track and adjunct professors,” Hebert said. “As the student body grows, we look to get more tenure track professors for research productivity and improve our students’ educational environment. We handle the initial increase [in credit hours and sections offered] with adjuncts and then new tenures later.”
Both Thielemann and Hebert also noted growth in online classes, another contributing factor to credit hour increases.