Prairie View A&M University’s campus is buzzing this fall, with more than
two-thousand new faces comprising record first-year student enrollment.
According to the university’s official 20th day of class report, PVAMU had 2,074 incoming freshmen. A year ago, the university had 1,839 freshmen, in 2015, there were 1,627, and in 2014, there were 1,569 freshmen.
So, what changed? For starters, PVAMU established partnerships, or Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with 19 school districts in the state. Designed to help bring in top-performing students, the percentage of PVAMU’s incoming freshmen who graduated in the top 25 percent of their high school class increased from 18 percent to
22 percent over the last three years.
PVAMU’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is also playing a big role in the ever-growing freshman class size. A few months ago, the office reported awarding a record number of scholarships and financial aid earlier than in past years. “Let’s just say, a lot of kids in high school were very happy,” Ralph Perri, director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, said in May.
To seal the deal, the university’s Summer Bridge programs gave freshmen enrollment a boost. This past summer, more than 800 students enrolled. “The university’s commitment to increasing the number of Summer Bridge programs for our incoming freshmen is playing a critical role in our enrollment and retention success,” said John Gardner, assistant vice president for Academic Engagement and Student Success. “Students are able to earn six to 12 hours of college-level coursework towards their degree, depending on the Summer Bridge program. In addition to the coursework, students experience college residential living, with fewer distractions, while creating networks with students, faculty, staff, and administrators. These opportunities really lure more students to make that final decision to come to PV.”