TTU Graduate and Minority Enrollment Jumps; Overall Numbers Reflect Changing Demographics

Graduate and minority enrollment at Tennessee Technological University increased dramatically this fall. Overall enrollment reflects the state's changing demographics.

While total student headcount enrollment decreased slightly, graduate student enrollment is at an all-time high, and minority student enrollment also increased significantly.

Despite the small drop in overall numbers - total enrollment stands at 8,215, down just over half a percent (48 students) from last year - the general feeling on campus is one of accomplishment in attracting targeted students.

"I'm pleased with the increase in minority and graduate students on campus," said Tennessee Tech President Angelo Volpe. "Our efforts in attracting a more diverse student population are paying off, and we hope that trend continues. But we plan to do more in the way of marketing the university in order to attract new students and to address the overall enrollment."

Recent efforts in graduate program development, such as designing cohort groups in other communities and weekend-based degree programs have helped attract more students of non-traditional college age. And recruitment efforts designed specifically to attract minority students made an impact on the campus' final figures. Graduate student enrollment jumped 17 percent this year, and African-American student numbers increased almost 8 percent.

Enrollment numbers in specific colleges have jumped, too. Business, education, basic engineering and independent programs all increased students for Fall '98.

"The overall enrollment reflects the number of high school graduates, which statewide remained flat this year, and Upper Cumberland graduates dropped by 125. When about half of our enrollment comes from that region, it's bound to affect us somewhat," said Jim Rose, assistant vice president for Enrollment and Records.

While the student headcount at Tennessee Tech decreased slightly, the full-time equivalent, or FTE, dropped 2.4 percent, indicating fewer students are taking full-load class schedules. The decrease, however, is small enough that it won't impact the university's state appropriations.

The change in Tennessee Tech's FTE is mainly attributed to the growth in non-traditional, part-time students taking graduate-level courses, according to Volpe.

"The increase those students made in headcount enrollment is offset by the fact that most of them are working full-time jobs and taking classes at TTU to further their opportunities," Volpe said. "And we're happy to make that possible."