Enrollment numbers at Highlands University continue to grow, officials say.
Overall, the school has 3.9 percent more students on campus than last semester.
“Our first-time freshmen count is remarkable when you look back at the last eight years,” Recruiting Director Gil Gonzales said. “Today we are at 457 new freshmen — up from 366 in the fall of 2007, which is 29 percent higher than last year. The university is really excited about that.”
Gonzales said Highlands is looking to continue to bring in those kinds of numbers, especially with the new residence halls coming up. The Las Vegas campus will be able to accommodate more and more students, he said.
“I think the overall feeling on campus is one of excitement and expectation in seeing all the renovation and new construction. The Lora Shields building is going to be the new home for the social work program, which is growing by leaps and bounds,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales noted that the school of social work opened a new program in Albuquerque and the program at the Rio Rancho site is doing very well.
Freshman Lea Valdez left her home in Honolulu, Hawaii, to attend Highlands’ school of social work and says she likes it here. She said she came to Las Vegas mainly because of the small class sizes and the personal attention given students.
“I enjoy it here because the professors know you personally and the student-professor ratio is very good,” Valdez said.
Valdez said she lamented the fact that the rumor mill had it that only new freshmen would be moving into the new dorms. Not so, said Highlands University President Jim Fries.
“No, that’s not the plan, I fully anticipate the new residence hall will be open to students at all levels,” Fries said.
Gonzales said he is also happy to report that many more students are transferring from other schools, upping the total in that category from the year before. He said last fall, there were 166 transfers and this year 192, a 16 percent increase.
“We’re delighted to see the significant increase in both the number of new freshmen and transfer students that joined Highlands this fall,” Fries said. “It was particularly beneficial because we’ve had very large graduating classes the last two years and the increase in new students allowed us not only to maintain our enrollment levels, but in fact increase enrollment from where it has been. We are hoping to see that trend continue, and through the spring semester this year.”
Fries also attributes the large number of new students’ interest in the university to the construction of the upscale housing for students and future plans for a new student center.
“The new residence hall under construction and other projects on the planning board, the new sense of stability at the university and very effective recruiting jobs by our recruiting staff, international programs department and our new coaches would be among the factors that contributed to the increase,” Fries said.