Official census data for the Fall 2022 semester has been recorded, with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga seeing substantial increases in the size of its freshman class, new graduate students and students coming from out of state.
The incoming first-time, full-time freshman class has been reported at 2,229, an increase of 8.2% from last fall. This is in line with the University’s growth trajectory from the pre-COVID years, when the first-year class grew from 1,852 in 2015 to 2,297 in 2019. In a sign that the market for advanced education is growing, the campus also saw a 5.9% increase in new graduate students.
Overall, total headcount at UTC this fall is 11,283, comprised of 9,884 undergraduates and 1,399 graduate students. This fall’s freshman-to-sophomore retention rate of 72.5% is higher than any pre-COVID year, while 57% of UTC full-time undergraduate students are registered for at least 15 hours—a key metric for Soar in Four, a program designed to keep full-time undergrads on track for a four-year graduation. (That figure stood at just 32% five years ago.)
“I’m very encouraged to see our strong incoming freshmen and graduate student numbers in particular, which is a signal that students and families value the contribution higher education can make on one’s career trajectory and overall quality of life,” said UTC Chancellor Steven R. Angle. “The education we provide is critical for Tennessee workforce development, especially in the Southeastern region and our nearby surrounding states. UTC must continue to develop skilled, prepared graduates to meet the demands of tomorrow.”
Benefiting from its affiliation with the UT System and the availability of UT Promise scholarship funds, UTC has also made education increasingly affordable. Nearly 600 UTC students are attending the institution tuition-free thanks to UT Promise, a scholarship program covering all tuition and fees for students who fall below an income threshold. Initiated in 2020, UT Promise kicks in after other financial aid sources are counted, such as the HOPE scholarship, Pell grants, and other institutional scholarships.
In the larger snapshot, incoming UTC freshmen hail from 78 Tennessee counties, 26 states and eight countries outside the U.S. The university is also seeing a new freshman class with academic strength – this year’s new freshmen have an average GPA of 3.6.
Other notable numbers include:
- An all-time high in Latino students – this population makes up 6% of UTC’s total enrollment. Overall, the number of Latino students enrolled at UTC has risen 37% over the past five years.
- An increase in students coming from states that border Tennessee. This fall, 189 first-time, full-time students come from the nine states bordering Tennessee – a 128% increase from five years ago. This growth is due largely to UTC’s Border State Rate initiative, a program introduced in 2020 that provides discounted tuition rates to students living in states touching Tennessee.
- Of those border states, UTC is seeing its largest growth from Georgia (enrollment is up 158% over the past five years).
“We are focused on a number of strategic enrollment initiatives, and the partnerships we have all across campus within the colleges and student support programs are imperative to this work,” said Dr. Yancy Freeman, vice chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “Our recruitment counselors are traveling and including even further distances in their efforts, and our at-capacity housing numbers are reflecting this work. We’ve engaged in increased recruitment marketing and brand positioning, and we’ve made increasing our enrollment numbers and providing top-notch student support some of our greatest priorities.”
Specific enrollment numbers that signal growth in leadership programs are also noteworthy. The LEAP (Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Leadership) program for nontraditional adult learners grew substantially from its inaugural enrollment last fall, and the LEAD (Learning and Leadership) program now has over 130 doctoral students enrolled.
Other programs experiencing growth include Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Engineering Technology and Management, Psychology, Music, Construction Management and the Data Analytics masters program.
“It’s going to be a terrific year at UTC,” said Angle. “We have dedicated and skilled faculty and staff, and all the right pieces in motion to help distinguish the UTC experience for our students and supporters.”