EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – More first-time-in-college students are starting classes this week than ever before at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Approximately 3,600 first-time-in-college students, often referred to as freshmen, represent a 22% increase over Fall 2021 enrollment in the same group.

“As the pandemic has waned, students have embraced what UTEP has to offer: academic excellence, exceptional value and our culture of care,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “We are very excited to see the talents this remarkable freshman class will bring to their studies and research.”

The previous first-time-in-college record was set in Fall 2019, when 3,400 freshmen enrolled.

The new cohort of students is the first benefiting from the Paydirt Promise Plus program announced this year. Thanks in part to support from The University of Texas System, Texas resident students with family incomes of less than $75,000 can attend UTEP without having to pay out-of-pocket for tuition and fees.

“One of the best feelings in the world is when you can tell a student who didn’t think they could afford college, that yes, they can come to UTEP and their tuition is paid,” said Gary Edens, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs. “We are so grateful to be part of Texas’ flagship university system. The support is tremendously helpful.”

Philanthropic support for scholarships has also helped students afford UTEP. Included in the many available scholarship opportunities are the new Lopez Foundation scholarships. More than a dozen students this year will receive full-ride Lopez Scholarships, including funds for housing and study abroad.

The top five most popular programs chosen by new UTEP students this fall are nursing, business, biological sciences, psychology, and computer science.

Official UTEP census numbers will be released on Sept. 8.

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