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UTRGV enrollment declines Officials say about 25,000 have registered for classes

UTRGV students form a line to pay tuition Jan. 11 at The Tower on Main in Brownsville while others are seated, waiting to speak with a representative for other services. Some had to wait more than an hour to get called to resolve their issues. ANA CAUICHE/ THE RIDER

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will start the Spring 2016 semester with 25,400 students, an 11 percent decrease from its inaugural semester, preliminary figures show.

Magdalena “Maggie” Hinojosa, UTRGV associate vice president for student enrollment, said the enrollment for spring will always be less than in the fall.

“For the spring semester, there’s a couple of things that are important to know,” Hinojosa said. “Entering freshmen is a very small population. We don’t have a lot of students who graduate from high school. … In general, your spring semester is always smaller than your fall semester, at about 8 percent or so.”

As of Thursday, the count was at 25,400, compared with 28,584 last fall, according to the enrollment reports posted on the my.utrgv.edu/studentenrollment/reports/ website.

“Typically, there’s not a set enrollment goal for spring because you always know your enrollment is going to be a little different,” Hinojosa said. “What you’re wanting to look at is how many students do we retain and you want to look at that, specifically, in their different sets of categories.”

As of Thursday, there were 22,072 undergraduate and 3,328 graduate students registered for the Spring 2016 semester.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the university’s enrollment goal is to be within 10 percent less than the fall semester.

“Spring is always smaller,” Bailey said. “Every spring is usually somewhere between 5 or 10 percent smaller. … The reason is we graduated 2,500 students in December. Remember, most students start in August. … We graduated almost 10 percent of our student body.”

Among those who registered for classes this spring was occupational therapy junior Justin Regino, who signed up for 13 semester credit hours.

Regino said he had difficulties registering for a lab.

“I got through getting rid of one,” he said. “We had to sign up for lab and lecture separately. That was trouble because I had signed up for lab but not for the lecture and I lost the class for that one. … [UTRGV] should put the lecture and lab together instead of separating the two courses. That was confusing.”

Business sophomore Daniel Casas said he would like UTRGV to offer more classes on the Brownsville campus.

“I didn’t really have any trouble registering for classes except for one of my basics,” Casas said. “There were only two classes [in Brownsville] and there were only morning classes. And, in Edinburg they had like 10, and they were all different times.”

Casas said he will travel to Edinburg during the spring semester to take his class.

Bailey said the university will focus on helping students more by helping them get the right classes in the right places.

“Our faculty, staff and students all worked very hard in a really complex environment [last fall],” he said. “We had tiny little things that we need to do better and correct, no question about that. … Our biggest focus [for the spring] needs to be our work with students and helping them to do what they need.”

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