Enrollment is headed back up at the University of Tennessee at Martin following a brief one-year decline. Fall 2003 enrollment for undergraduate and graduate students is 5,781, representing a 1.1% increase compared to the fall 2002 enrollment of 5,719 students.
Other numbers bode well for the university. Those include:
• A higher ACT average for entering freshmen (21.8 vs. 21.3 for fall ‘02), an average that exceeds both national and Tennessee ACT averages;
• A higher freshman-retention rate (70.5% vs. 66.5% for fall ‘02);
• A reduction in the number of conditional admission students (97 vs. 154 for fall ‘02); and
• Significant increases in program majors such as nursing and teacher education.
Entering freshmen number 952 students compared to 1,072 for last fall, which follows the introduction of higher admissions standards that went into effect for fall 2003, said Dr. Nick Dunagan, UT Martin chancellor.
“I could not be more pleased with the increase in the average ACT score for this freshman class and the increased retention rate of last year’s freshman class,” Dunagan said. “The freshman class enrollment is in line with the increase in admission standards. We want students to succeed academically, and each member of this class has the opportunity to have a positive experience at UT Martin.”
The university’s FTE or full-time equivalency, which divides the total number of undergraduate credit hours by 15 and graduate hours by 12, is 5,272. This number is down from last fall’s 5,317. FTE is the number on which funding is based for Tennessee public colleges and universities. Dunagan expects students recruited through higher admission standards, coupled with improved retention, to send this number higher.
“Retention is critical for student success and the university’s academic and financial well being,” Dunagan said. “UT Martin is headed in the right direction.”
Dunagan also is pleased with the university’s recent recognition by The Princeton Review as UT Martin was profiled in The Best Southeastern Colleges: 100 Great Schools to Consider. The book features student survey-driven profiles of each school chosen by The Princeton Review.
Student quotes in the profile include: “The small classes make interacting with teachers a plus.”; “The professors here are outstanding and willing to put in extra effort to help the students.”; and “The faculty and staff at UTM (are) very visible. They don’t just work 8-to-5 and go home.”
“Students do the best job of telling the UT Martin story,” Dunagan added. “This recognition and the positive enrollment news have us off to a great start for the new academic year.”