The University of St. Thomas (UST) is “Houston’s Catholic University.” Centrally located in Houston’s urban Museum District, this mid-sized, private four-year university has close to 3,500 students, the majority of whom are undergraduates.
UST has a strong regional pull, with 89 percent of its students hailing from Texas. About 70 percent of the student body is ethnically diverse—reflective of Houston itself. The University is officially designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and U.S. News and World Report ranked UST 18th among “regional universities-west.”
Pathways to Growth: a long-term partnership
UST and RNL have been partners for over a decade. Recently, we have focused on overall first-year enrollment growth in general and Latino student enrollment in specific using RNL’s Advanced FinAid Solutions.
In spite of the global Covid-19 pandemic, UST enrolled their largest freshmen class in the fall 2020.
Other successes from 2019 to 2020
enrollment of first-year students from 2019
yield rate – the highest rate in 4 years
net tuition & fee revenue with no change to tuition and fee discount rate
Here’s to La Gente (aka, “the people”) bridging gaps at UST
Historically, there has been a large gap between Latinx higher educational attainment and White, non-Latinx degree attainment. However, the numbers are improving. In 2000, only 10 percent of Latinos/Latinas aged 25-29 had a bachelor’s degree compared to 21 percent in 2019. Still, nationally, most Latinx students (85 percent) enrolled in a four-year program were enrolled in public universities, larger than any other ethnic group.
As a private, four-year school, UST bucked these national and historical trends and targeted Latinx students for enrollment. Using RNL’s Advanced FinAid Solutions, we worked together to pinpoint the optimal merit and need-based aid levels to influence the Latinx applicant pool to enroll at UST. The results between 2019 and 2020 speak for themselves:
enrollment of first-year Latinx identifying students
56.1% -> 64.5%
percentage of first-year class made up of Latinx-identifying students
UST’s undergraduate prospective student market is a harbinger of demographic changes to come to other parts of the United States. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s study called Knocking on the College Door: Predictions of High School Graduates 2020 forecasts that between 2022 and 2027—in most of the continental U.S. states—the projected rates of graduating White, Non-Latinx high school students will decrease whereas projected rates of graduating high school students of color are projected to increase.
Talk with our enrollment experts
Let’s talk about how you can find the optimal strategies for digital marketing, inquiry management, financial aid awarding, optimizing yield, and other key actions.