It looks to be a record setting fall semester at Tennessee Tech University as an all-time high number of students have enrolled, according to preliminary figures. As of Friday, more than 8,600 students had enrolled at Tennessee Tech, surpassing the previous high of 8,584 students set in 1999.
Breaking the 8,600 barrier was a university goal. With nearly a 3 percent increase in students over last year, the news is a bright spot for the university, which continues to find ways to deal with the challenges presented by state budget controversies.
"Our enrollment increase is an example of how faculty, staff and students have taken pride in this campus, despite budget challenges, and communicated their satisfaction to students looking for a quality university," said Tennessee Tech President Bob Bell.
Tennessee Tech's preliminary numbers are slightly above the average increase at other Tennessee Board of Regents' universities. As of Friday, the average increase in headcount enrollment was 2.97 percent at four-year TBR schools.
Although new freshman enrollment numbers remained constant, the number of new transfer students showed a dramatic increase of almost 14 percent.
"Our student base has excellent access to community colleges in the area, and that's resulted in a significant increase in transfer students who are choosing to continue their education at Tennessee Tech," said Rebecca Tolbert, TTU's associate vice president for Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management.
The university also reached a seven-year high with more than a 2.5 percent increase in full-time equivalent enrollment, another method of counting registered students. Enrollment at universities is divided into two major categories -- total headcount and FTE, total undergraduate hours divided by 15 and total graduate hours divided by 12. FTE is a way to group part-time students so that the number of hours they are taking represents a full-time class load.
"We are excited because we are reaping the results of our increased efforts toward enrollment growth," said Tolbert.
She explained that universities do not compute final figures for enrollment until after the 14th day of a semester.
"We report preliminary numbers until that time because it takes some students several days to complete financial paperwork and schedules," she said.
The final census at Tennessee Tech will occur over the Labor Day holiday weekend.