WT Student Retention Rates on Significant Upswing, New Figures Show


Chip Chandler

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s retention rate for sophomores is at record-high levels, newly released enrollment figures show.

Nearly 70 percent of sophomores re-enrolled after their freshmen year, reversing a trend sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It would appear that the post-pandemic classes, including our freshman class this year, are strong and improving,” said Mike Knox, vice president for enrollment services. “Over the next two or three years, as those two classes move up, our overall undergraduate enrollment should see significant improvements.”

Knox said the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 68.5 percent is the highest it has been since at least 1988, the earliest year for which records were kept. The number of new freshmen dipped slightly.

On-campus semester credit hours rose more than 1 percent over 2021, and semester credit hours for doctoral students rose nearly 78 percent as WT’s doctoral program in educational leadership continued to expand.

Additionally, the percentage of students residing on WT’s campus in Canyon grew nearly 23 percent over 2021.

The 12th class day is when Texas’ public universities traditionally report enrollment in the spring and fall semesters.

Looking at the full student body, 47 percent of undergraduates are first-generation college students, 44 are racially and ethnically diverse, 38 percent are Pell Grant-eligible, and 22 percent are online-only.

Growth wasn’t just seen among undergraduate students: In the WT Graduate School, the number of full-time graduate students rose about 2 percent. In the Graduate School, 39 percent of graduate students are first-generation, 40 percent are racially and ethnically diverse, and 83 are online-only.

Enrollment at the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center also continues to rise. With the latest figures, total class enrollment at the center has grown around 150 percent since the Department of Nursing and the Department of Communication Disorders have relocated to the center from Canyon.

Six individual departments also saw overall increases in enrollment.

The Department of Agricultural Sciences now boasts more than 1,000 students for the first time in history, up about 6.5 percent over 2021 numbers. The department is part of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, which saw an overall enrollment growth of 1.2 percent.

The Department of Mathematics and the Department of Engineering and Computer Sciences both saw increases for the College of Engineering. Mathematics grew 24.5 percent, and engineering grew almost 4 percent. Overall, enrollment in the College grew 6.8 percent.

The Department of Sports and Exercise Sciences in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences grew more than 10 percent.

And the Department of History and the Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages each grew, as well—about 4 percent for history, and about 3 percent for EPML. Both departments are in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.

Another key area of growth: International students, which jumped 10.3 percent over 2021.

WT’s number of admitted doctoral students in agriculture and educational leadership also continued to grow, rising almost 1 percent over 2021, following historic gains the year prior.

The Department of Computer Information and Decision Management in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business and the Department of Political Science and Social Work in the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences both grew nearly 1 percent.

WT’s overall enrollment saw a slight decline to 9,275 students, about 3 percent down compared to fall enrollment last year. Semester credit hours dipped 2 percent overall.

WT remains committed to being regionally responsive to the needs of the people of the Texas Panhandle, as laid out in the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised more than $110 million.