Data from the first few weeks of the new school year shows area school districts and colleges are experiencing growth in their student populations.
The Killeen Independent School District has already surpassed its peak enrollment from last year. Student counts from Sept. 6 show a total enrollment of 41,795, topping the district’s 2011-12 peak enrollment by 623 students.
That growth includes an increase of 111 students at Killeen High School and 119 students at Charles Patterson Middle School. The district’s Sept. 6 count also shows that 20 of KISD’s 32 elementary schools experienced growth from the prior year, including Reeces Creek and Saegert Elementary School, which both grew by more than 100 students.
While the district did grow on a whole, the early enrollment numbers have yet to meet the Killeen district’s initial projections by about 116 students. However, students may still enter or leave the district during the course of the year.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District experienced slight growth in enrollment as it kicked off the school year. Enrollment on the first day of school totaled 8,049 students, up 186 students from the first day of school the previous year.
That number includes 2,119 students at Copperas Cove High School, 1,563 in the district’s junior high schools, 4,329 elementary school students and 38 students enrolled at the Crossroads alternative school.
It remains to be seen whether the increase in students will necessitate the district to seek state waivers to increase class sizes in some kindergarten through fourth-grade elementary school classrooms past the 22 students per class requirement. Records from the Texas Education Agency show that the Cove district was granted waivers for 21 classrooms for the 2011-2012 school year.
A little more than two weeks into the school year, the district hasn’t stated whether it will seek more waivers this year. However, district spokesperson Olga Peña said in an email that district administrators were monitoring the situation.
Other district enrollments included Lampasas, which had 3,405 students as of Sept. 4, and the Gatesville Independent School District, which had 2,903 students as of Sept. 6. According to data from about the same period from last year, Lampasas’ enrollment remained about the same, while Gatesville’s grew by 74 students.
Preliminary totals from Central Texas College showed a slight drop in the two-year college’s total state enrollment this fall semester from 15,584 students for fall 2011 to 15,447 as of Aug. 27, 2012. Part of that decrease includes 315 fewer students enrolled at its Killeen campus and 819 fewer students enrolled though Fort Hood.
However, that data also showed some growth within certain subgroups of students. Those areas include an increase in the number of online students — from 6,172 to 6,425 from the previous fall semester.
Bruce Vasbinder, a spokesman for the college, said final totals would not be available for another week or two, and that the college expected its enrollment numbers to remain about the same as the previous fall.
“Overall, we are pretty much on par with last year,” Vasbinder said.
While overall enrollment at CTC is expected to remain about the same, Texas A&M University-Central Texas is reporting growth in its student population.
Data from the university shows that overall fall enrollment for the fourth day of classes stood at 2,314, an increase of 172 from the same time last year. Some of that growth included increases in the total number of both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled for the fall semester. That data also shows the majority of the university’s enrollment is returning students, who made up about 1,758 students for the 2012 fall semester.
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor also saw growth at its campus in Belton this year, making this the fourth consecutive year the university has exceeded its enrollment from the previous fall semester.
According to the official eighth-day enrollment figures, the university is home to 3,287 students this fall, 150 more than the 3,137 students who enrolled last fall.
“God’s really blessed our institution,” said Gary Lamm, the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management. “There’s a lot of excitement on campus about the growth we have seen.”
This year, the university’s enrollment includes 2,926 undergraduate, 278 master’s and 83 doctoral students. The university also exceeded its record from last fall with an enrollment of 631 freshmen, one more than the previous year.
Lamm credited the campus’ master plan as the reason for some of the growth. The plan has provided the school with a number of new facilities, including new student housing and a performing and visual arts center, and eventually a student activity and football stadium.
“(The university) has a history of giving personal attention to students, and providing them with an active and engaging campus. I think students recognize that,” Lamm said.
Contact Chris McGuinness at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.