Public Records Search

University of Tennessee welcomes largest freshman class in 30 years

August 26, 2014

When classes begin at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the university will be welcoming nearly 4,700 freshmen, and it will be the largest freshman class the University has accepted in 30 years. The second largest was in 2004 when it accepted a total of 4,422 students.

At the school, a total of 7,400 students will live on campus, an increase of about 300 over last year. Jimmy Cheek, University Chancellor said there was a clear focus to enroll an additional 400 freshman compared to last year to maintain its undergraduate enrollment of 21,500.

The University of Tennessee has steadily increased its six year graduation rate from 60 percent to 67.5 percent in four years. Cheek said more UT students are graduating on time and that gives the University the capacity to accept more students. By improving efficiency and expanding capacity, it helps the state increase the number of college-educated students – a key goal in the state.

Cheek is pleased to welcome the Class of 2018 stating that it’s great to see all of the new students on campus and that the excitement and energy they bring to campus is contagious.

With its growth, UT did not skimp on the academics, in fact, it is welcoming one of its brightest classes. The average ACT score is a 27, with an average grade point average of 3.80. Forty-three percent have a grade point average of 4.0 or higher. About 87 percent of the incoming freshmen are from Tennessee. It also boasts students from 39 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. For the fourth consecutive year, females outnumber males and the incoming class has seen an increase of minority students, at about 21 percent.

Around 600 incoming freshmen are enrolled in University honors programs. Half of these students will live in the Honors Living and Learning Community, which is housed in the recently completed Fred D. Brown Jr. Residence Hall.

Cheek said the increase of freshmen means UT is attracting the very best students in Tennessee and throughout the nation. He believes they come to UT because of the quality of instruction that is offered and the amenities available to students.

UT is also dedicated to making sure its education is accessible for all no matter their family income, and states that it is a priority to help ensure that money is not a barrier for students that academically qualify. In turn, it provides many need-based scholarship programs. Currently, nearly 60 percent of scholarship money awarded by UT is merit-based while about 45 percent is deemed need-based.

A little more than 28 percent of freshmen are eligible for federal Pell grants. As in previous years, about 98 percent of in-state incoming freshmen qualify for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship, which provides up to $4,000 a year toward tuition and fees.

The University, in addition to welcoming a larger freshman class, is also bringing in an additional 1,250 transfer students this fall. Admissions received a record number of applicants with nearly 15,500 for the year. One reason, they say, has been the school’s concerted recent efforts to expand its recruiting across Tennessee and other local states.