CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M University’s Fall enrollment figures show an increase in freshman in several of the University’s most lauded programs.

WT said overall numbers, as of Sept. 8, show that the University is beginning its Fall 2021 semester with a 7% growth in its freshman class, the third-highest number of first-time students in WT history.

WT continues saying the number of admitted doctoral students in agriculture and educational leadership rose 38 percent over 2020. WT will graduate its first cohort of educational leadership doctoral candidates in Fall 2021.

“The number of doctoral degrees awarded will be a key metric for WT to attain doctoral status, as laid out in our long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World, and as we continue to strengthen our institution as a Regional Research University,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler.

The university said overall enrollment saw a dip to 9,581 students, about 4% down compared to fall enrollments over the past five years.

“What these numbers really illustrate,” said Michael Knox, vice president for student enrollment, engagement and success, “is the vital importance of student engagement. The 2020-21 academic year was hugely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly causing difficulties in getting students personally engaged in and out of the classroom.”

West Texas A&M said it remains committed to being regionally responsive to the needs of the people of the Texas Panhandle, as laid out in the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.