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07 May 2014 Written by  Forward Times Staff

Texas Southern University’s Enrollment on the Upswing – Applications Up 6%

Texas Southern University is experiencing an upswing in new applications – to the tune of 6 percent compared to this same time last year. University officials say this increase can be directly attributed to more aggressive recruiting and outreach.

 The University’s president Dr. John M. Rudley, has taken a personal interest in recruiting and is spearheading a presidential bus tour that has traveled across the state and awarded close to $100,000 in scholarships on the spot.

Last week, Rudley ended a tour to community colleges in the city, again awarding dollars to students who meet the criteria for immediate transition into the university.

This week, the tour travels to high schools in the immediate Houston area. The goal is to increase enrollment by a significant number by fall 2014.

In addition to the Presidential Bus Tour, TSU will be promoting many of its outstanding programs,  featuring alumni via billboards, and creating additional printed pieces and public service announcements.  It will be touting its unique degree programs – . Some of TSU’s unique programs are only available at Texas Southern, and many that will surprise the community.

Programs that are unique to Texas Southern University include: Maritime Transportation, Aviation Science Management, Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Entertainment and the Recording Industry, Sports Management, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The University will also push its online degree programs such as eMBA, eMPA and the Curriculum and Instruction Bilingual Degree in its College of Education. It also has in its arsenal, the new Confucius Institute where students can learn Mandarin, its pharmacy and health sciences programs and degrees in education.

The University’s admissions office is also reporting an uptick in the number of students with a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) or better and that transfer student applications are up by 4 percent (4%).

“Outreach to area high schools and participation in community events will also help enrollment numbers. Texas Southern University  is doing what it does best in times when competition for students are tough – it relies on its grassroots connections and programs that lead to jobs of the future,” states the University Spokesperson Eva Pickens

The president, administrators and recruiters remain committed to the students on campus, and development officers and alumni continue to raise money for scholarships and financial aid. A Graduation Success Scholarship fund has been created that will help students who are near graduation, but financially struggling to stay in school and finish their degrees.

Rudley’s bus tour is part of a “three-pronged attack” (bus tour, scholarships and new dorms) that he hopes will double the size of next year’s freshman class and increase

Ground is being broken this month on a new $51 million dorm that will house 800 freshmen, and include cafeterias and recreational rooms that officials hope will keep students on campus and in classes.

An aggressive outreach campaign, using media (print, television, radio and digital tools) personal visits, social media and high-profile alumni, is being launched to raise awareness of the university’s research and achievements.

“I’m shooting for the stars, because that’s kind of how I play the game,” Rudley said. “I’m very optimistic we’ll get there.”