Enrollment at the University of Texas at San Antonio hit an all-time high this fall with more than 32,000 students, a 4.7 percent increase over the previous year, university officials said Friday.

Five years ago, in Fall 2013, enrollment totaled 28,600 students. Since then, the number of enrolled students crept upward each year, hitting 30,000 students in Fall 2017. This year’s enrollment marks an increase of about 1,500 students, the university said. The majority of this growth is at the undergraduate level, where roughly 27,000 students are enrolled.

The record enrollment figures come even before work gets fully underway on an ambitious growth plan to add 10,000 students to UTSA’s downtown campus.

“By the end of this first phase [of the Strategic Enrollment Plan] in Fall 2023, UTSA will have an overall enrollment of approximately 38,400 students comprised of some 33,000 undergraduates, 4,600 graduate students, and 800 post-baccalaureate students,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy wrote in an email to faculty and staff Thursday. “These increases will bring an additional $13 million in tuition revenue and $5 million in fee revenue to UTSA.”

That plan is in its first phase and came as the result of a task force that began work in October 2017 to outline enrollment goals for the next five years. The second phase of the plan has yet to be released, but will take the university through the next decade.

By Fall 2028, the university is hoping to enroll 45,000 students, Eighmy said, noting that the focus on enlarging enrollment comes from a motivation to develop the “greatest degree of freedom” that comes with a growing student body.

The increase will involve higher enrollment at UTSA’s main campus close to Loop 1604, the downtown campus, and in online course offerings.

Growth at the downtown campus is built into the second phase of the plan, Eighmy told the Rivard Report.

“If I had to predict now, I’m betting we are going to see fairly linear increases in undergrad enrollment at both campuses [with] more dramatic growth in grad enrollments, especially focused on doctoral programs, doctoral graduation, producing PhDs, basically,” Eighmy said.

UTSA also announced significant growth in its four- and six-year graduation rates.

From 2016 to 2018, the San Antonio school saw an increase in four-year graduation rates from 17.6 percent to 25.1 percent. The six-year rate increased from 34.7 percent to 39.6 percent over the same period.

The university attributed the gains to the addition of a graduation help desk and peer mentors, better support for first-generation students, and proactive advising.

By 2023, UTSA hopes to increase the four-year graduation rate to 35 percent and the six-year rate to 60 percent to align with current national averages.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.