As a new semester begins, the Texas Tech Enrollment Management Taskforce is looking to see more new faces on campus.
Chancellor Kent Hance, who created the task force, said exact 2007 enrollment numbers have not come in, but he is expecting an overall increase in enrollment of about 400 to 500 students for the fall semester.
The increase in numbers is on track for meeting the 2020 goal of 40,000 students.
"By going to 40,000, essentially what we're asking to do is grow by 2 to 2 ½ percent a year," Hance said. "We don't want a surge of students; we want to keep the academic stature that we have gained over the past years. We're not going to lower academic standards in order to increase enrollment."
Hance said one of his main objectives over the next nine months is to raise scholarship money to help enrollment numbers grow.
He said he is counting on local community support to raise money as well as community support outside the Lubbock area.
Juan Munoz, special assistant to the president for institutional diversity, is the head of the Chancellor's Hispanic and African American Enrollment Taskforce teams. He said raising money for diversity scholarships is the top priority for his teams.
"That includes non-university community organizations also contributing to scholarships so that the responsibility is not just on Texas Tech," he said.
The diversity task force teams have come up with recommendations to increase minority enrollment numbers, which have been presented to the Board of Regents for consideration.
Munoz said the board is in the process of deciding what recommendations to implement and how to do so.
When compared to competing schools such as the University of Texas, Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma, the percentage of minorities enrolled at Tech is about average.
"We have about a 12 percent Hispanic enrollment, which is above national enrollment," Munoz said, "and we have about 3 percent of African Americans, which is significantly below national averages."
There is not a high demographic of African Americans in West Texas, which is one reason Munoz said he believes African American enrollment numbers are so low.
"We need to do a better job recruiting in the Houston area, the Dallas/Fort Worth and the San Antonio area," he said.
For the last three years, the number of minority students enrolled has increased modestly.
Munoz said he is expecting about a 20 percent increase in the enrollment of Hispanic students and about a 30 percent increase in the number of African Americans enrolling this fall.
Keeping the minority students who will enroll or are enrolled at Tech is a critical focus for reaching the enrollment goal. Munoz said he hopes to keep minority students by getting them involved with the university.
"Students involved have a much higher retention and graduate rate," he said. "We need to do a better job identifying the students who are on the brink of attrition, so that we get the answers for you before you are on the way out."
According to the 2008 budget overview, about $1.5 million will be designated to the Enrollment Management Taskforce.
Hance said much of that money will go toward hiring more recruiters.
"We've been doing our recruitment with about 15 recruiters, while other competing schools have about 40 recruiters," he said.
Robert Shindell, associate vice president of the Office of Admissions, is in charge of recruiting and admissions and also a member of the Enrollment Management Taskforce. He said recruiters are taking an aggressive approach to attract more students.
"Our recruiters go to community colleges, they go to high schools, they talk with community leaders, they go to PTAs, they talk with boy scouts, girl scouts, you name it," he said. "We're going to be more aggressive than our competitors."
Sophomore, junior and senior level high school students are the primary targets for recruiters. Shindell said selling Lubbock as well as Tech is key.
"It's a slam dunk if we get them (to Lubbock)," he said. "Reaching out and saying 'I know that this is what you think this is what Lubbock is, but will you please come out and visit, I guarantee you will have a different opinion when you leave' is important."
The Student Government Association also is involved with the Enrollment Management Taskforce.
SGA President Mason Moses said he agrees making Lubbock attractive to potential students is important.
"We can't separate Tech and Lubbock, so if we could make (potential students) feel not just part of Tech but also part of Lubbock, then we can attract students," he said.
One way Moses said he plans on doing this is by using the Freshman Council and Freshman Advisory Board, which act as conduits to gain incoming student's input.
"I'm going to create kind of my own task force and talk to the students who just went through the process," he said. "They know what brought them here."