KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- Nearly 4,700 freshmen—the largest first-year class in at least thirty years—will begin classes at UT on Wednesday.
Overall, about 7,400 students will live on campus this fall, about 300 more than last year. While some students have already moved to campus, the big move-in day begins at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said enrolling an additional 400 freshmen over last year is a concerted effort to maintain undergraduate enrollment at 21,500.
“We are pleased to welcome the Class of 2018,” Cheek said. “It’s great to see all of these new students on our campus; the excitement and energy they bring to campus is contagious.”
UT has increased its six-year graduation rate from 60 percent to 67.5 percent in four years.
“More of our students are graduating on time and that gives us the capacity to accept more students. By improving our efficiency and expanding our capacity, we are helping the state increase the number of college-educated students—a key goal in the state’s ‘Drive to 55′ effort,” Cheek said.
The second-largest freshman class in recent UT history was 4,422 in 2004.
Despite being bigger, the Class of 2018 comes with the academic chops you’d expect to see at a Top 25 university:
◾Their average ACT score is 27.
◾They have an average high school GPA of 3.80.
◾About 43 percent have a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.
Some other facts about the class:
◾Females outnumber males for the fourth year in a row.
◾The incoming freshman class is about 21 percent minority students.
◾About 87 percent of the students are from Tennessee.
◾The class has students from thirty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
gammachi-moveinNearly 600 of the freshmen, or about 13 percent of the class, are enrolled in UT honors programs. About half of those will be living in the Honors Living Learning Community housed in the new Fred D. Brown Jr. Residence Hall.
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.
Access remains a high priority for UT, and to ensure that money is not a stumbling block for the state’s academically qualified students, UT provides several need-based scholarship programs. About 57 percent of institutional scholarship dollars—those awarded by UT—are merit-based and about 43 percent are need-based.
In addition to a larger freshman class, UT is also welcoming about 1,250 transfer students this year.
UT Admissions received a record number of applications for this year—nearly 15,500— and expanded recruiting efforts across Tennessee and other states. Enrollment numbers are not finalized until the fourteenth day of class.