ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An enrollment official who found success bringing students to colleges in Texas is going to try his luck at the biggest university in New Mexico.
The University of New Mexico announced Monday that Dan García is the vice president of enrollment management. García joins UNM from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was the associate vice president for enrollment management for the research institution with 59,000 students. He has also been the vice president of enrollment management at West Texas A&M University, according to a UNM news release.
“Bringing Dan to UNM will allow us to ramp up our strategic approach to enrollment,” UNM Provost James Holloway said in a prepared statement. “Dan has broad experience at a number of universities and a deep understanding of the best practices in bringing the opportunity of higher education to young learners.”
UNM touted García’s recent work redesigning first-year student admission criteria for UTA, which had its highest enrollment of new freshmen and total student population in the fall of 2018. The school also increased its enrollment of students who score in the top 5% nationally on college entrance exam test scores, according to a UNM news release.
While García was at West Texas A&M from 2007 through 2017, enrollment increased each year and undergraduate enrollment rose by 25%, according to the release.
García will make $215,000 per year and start on Sept. 2. His contract is for three years and also includes a moving allowance, according to a university spokeswoman.
García will be tasked with addressing a significant decline in student enrollment that UNM has seen recently. The school had a 17.6% drop in the number of freshmen who enrolled at UNM in fall 2018 compared to fall 2017.
Enrollment officials are hopeful for better numbers this year. Matt Hulett, UNM’s admissions and recruitment director, said at a regents subcommittee meeting last week that the number of students who applied to go to UNM and who were admitted increased this year. Final enrollment likely won’t be determined until some time early in the upcoming semester, but he said he’s hopeful freshmen enrollment has stabilized.
“New Mexico is similar to a number of other states: High school graduate numbers are flat or declining; there is increased competition for students among institutions of higher education; and the economy is doing relatively well. That combination is perhaps the biggest current challenge to UNM with regard to enrollment, as it is to many other colleges and universities across the nation,” García said in an email.
“However, UNM has the advantage over most of being an important and nationally/internationally well-known institution of higher education, one with world-class faculty and academic programs, and a record of support for student success that is evident in strong persistence and graduation rates,” he said. “The quality and reputation of UNM is at a level others across the nation aspire to, which again is a distinct advantage for our university.”