TTU starts new year with enrollment increase

Student enrollment is up this fall at Tennessee Technological University. Headcount enrollment figures have reached 8,173 this year, marking a reversal in enrollment trends over the past few years.

That spells continued good news for the university, which had already experienced an enrollment increase for its summer sessions. Headcount enrollment, or the total number of students registered, was up by more than five percent for the summer as compared to last year.

"Enrollment of first-time students, which includes both new and transfer students, has increased this year," said Jim Rose, assistant vice president for Enrollment and Records. "The contributing factor was an increase of approximately 5 percent in the number of students transferring to Tennessee Tech from other universities and community colleges. Enrollment of new students has remained essentially stable.

"For years we've been working hard to coordinate strong transfer agreements with other schools across the state," he added. "Our efforts are obviously paying off. Students are discovering how easy it is to transfer course credits and work toward a bachelor's degree at Tennessee Tech."

Graduate school enrollment showed a significant increase this year, too, according to Rebecca Quattlebaum, dean of Graduate Studies. The fall semester figures, at 1,066 students, marked the highest headcount enrollment of graduate students at the university in the past seven years. The number of students seeking masters, specialist and doctoral degrees increased by approximately 10 percent over last year.

"Much of this year's increase can be attributed to graduate cohorts -- graduate students pursuing masters or specialist degrees in education at off-campus locations in our 22-county service region," said Quattlebaum.

While headcount enrollment is up at the university, the average number of credit hours carried by an undergraduate student has decreased slightly. But the reason for the difference is easily explained, said Rebecca Tolbert, associate vice president for Academic Affairs.

"We're following a national trend," she said. "More students are coming to Tennessee Tech, but more are working while they attend college, and that means they're taking fewer credit hours per person. When you add to that the fact that more non-traditional, or older, students are enrolling, it's easy to understand the difference."

Enrollment of returning and readmitted students is down slightly this year too, according to Rose. "But that's not surprising," he added. "That can be attributed to the fact that we had more students than usual graduate during the year. That's pretty good news in itself."

The university expects this year's enrollment trend to continue next year, too. University admissions counselors have already begun traveling to schools across the state as part of an ambitious enrollment campaign for 1997.