For the first time ever, TTU’s total number of students exceeds 9,000. According to Friday’s preliminary figures, about 9,069 students enrolled this fall, surpassing last year’s total of 8,890 and making this the third straight year the university has had a record-breaking number of students.
“Our enrollment increase is an indication that students, faculty, staff and alumni are not only finding satisfaction at our institution, but they are also telling others about their satisfaction — and students who are looking for a quality university are listening,” said TTU President Bob Bell.
Only two years ago, the university succeeded in topping its record goal of an 8,600 student enrollment, and administrators touted that achievement as a “bright spot for the university” in light of challenges presented by state budget controversies.
“In spite of the state’s ongoing budget problems, TTU’s enrollment has continued to increase, and being able to maintain such a constant pattern of growth despite the budget challenges we’ve faced is a significant achievement indeed,” Bell said.
While new freshman and transfer student enrollment numbers remain relatively constant, the academic quality of entering students has improved, according to preliminary admissions statistics.
“There’s been a significant increase in the number of incoming students who’ve chosen to participate in the university’s Honors Program. Enrollment in the Honors Program is up by about 50 percent this year,” said Rebecca Tolbert, associate vice president of Academic Affairs.
“The number of students we’ve admitted who have very strong ACT scores has also increased by about 250 over last year,” she said.
The number of graduate students showed a considerable increase of almost 8 percent.
TTU had a total of 1,639 graduate students last fall, and that number has jumped to about 1,796 for this fall. Of that number, about 544 of those are new graduate students.
Francis Otuonye, associate vice president of research and graduate studies, said he attributes the rise to TTU’s aggressive recruitment efforts and the assistanceships and fellowships the university provides to help students continue their educations.
“The Geier Fellowship is especially important in helping African-American students pursue graduate studies,” he said. “It pays each student’s tuition and fees, plus provides a $10,000 stipend they can use to buy books and study materials, pay housing costs or purchase anything else they may need.”
There are currently a total of 82 African-American graduate students at TTU who have received the Geier Fellowship.
Bell said he viewed the percentage growth in the number of graduate students as an example that TTU offers a quality education at all academic levels.
TTU and other Tennessee universities do not compute final figures for enrollment until after the 14th day of the semester in order to give students adequate time to complete their financial paperwork and academic schedules.
The final census at TTU will be available following the Labor Day holiday.