Enrollment springs at ENMU

Tony Parra

The enrollment for the spring semester was pleasant news for Eastern New Mexico University officials after the university hit its highest spring enrollment since the spring of 1996.
The enrollment in the spring of 1996 was more than 3,500 students; this spring’s enrollment is 3,491.
Enrollment increased by 6 percent this spring from a year ago, an increase of 194 students.
Eastern officials say the increase can be attributed to a new style of recruiting.
“I tell prospective students about how friendly our town is and that every professor knows you and is concerned with your needs,” Kristen Blair, president ambassador, said. “We find out about what organizations they are in during high school and ask them what they do in their free time to find out what their interests are. Then we tell them about Eastern and incorporate those interests.”
ENMU freshman Tyrone Gant said he was interested in four other universities in the South but chose Eastern because of the people.
“It was close to home and they (recruiters) told me that people were nice,” said Gant, who is from Lubbock. “When I was at registration I met the people at Eastern and I was impressed.”
In the past, two groups were relegated to recruitment, one conducting phone surveys and another giving campus tours, said Ronnie Birdsong, vice president of university relations and enrollment services.
Students now get campus tours from the same recruiter they speak with on the phone, which makes the recruitment process more personal to the students, Birdsong said.
Kandice Kaiser, the president of the President’s Ambassadors, said there are 13 recruiters at ENMU, the same amount of people used in the past. She said campus tours for prospective students has increased, which also helps the recruitment process.
“It’s been a university-wide effort,” Birdsong said. “We’ve been in a new plan for two falls now. Students respond to prospective students’ inquiries in a good response time.”
University officials have helped reversed a six-year trend in which enrollment for ENMU had been declining, Eastern President Dr. Steven Gamble said at a December Board of Regents meeting. Birdsong and Gamble were chief promoters of the recruiting process.
“Dr. Gamble and Mrs. Birdsong have changed its (ENMU) focus and they encourage people to attend,” Kaiser said about the enrollment increase.
Spring is the second semester ENMU enrollment has been on the rise. There were 3,725 students enrolled in the fall of 2003, up from 3,638 students enrolled the previous fall.
Kaiser said the enrollment decreases between fall and spring because they lose students to graduation and transfers.