ETSU enrollment again tops 15,000

Another enrollment increase here at ETSU.  Growth is good.  The last systemwide headcount figures I saw show showed flat enrollment: 1.2% for universities and
 -1.9% for community colleges.  Those students are taking fewer hours however as FTE is -0.8 for the system.  Good news aside, our adult degree programs dipped slightly.  Perhaps it's a sign the economy is improving; perhaps it's a sign that we've become too expensive for the part-time adult student.

Final census figures from East Tennessee State University report enrollment for the fall 2011 semester at 15,536, an increase of approximately 1.95 percent, or 302 students, from the fall 2010 semester.

The 15,536 enrollment figure includes all ETSU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students and residents from the James H. Quillen College of Medicine and the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.

“This is wonderful news to share, especially as our campus is just weeks away from turning 100 years old,” said ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr.  “Our story is an amazing one when you consider how we began as a training college for teachers with only 29 students and grew to a university with more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and an enrollment well above 15,000.”

The university welcomed its largest class of transfer students this fall – a total of 1,220 and an increase of 143 from one year ago.  The number of first-time freshmen is 2,087, which is approximately 40 students more than fall 2010.

“In recent years we have seen a steady increase in enrollment, and I believe there are a lot of factors working together that have made this possible,” said Dr. Ramona Williams, ETSU vice provost for Enrollment Services.  “Scholarship programs, like the HOPE Scholarship, are continuing to make Tennessee higher education a more affordable option, and the diversity of accredited degree programs we offer in the arts, humanities, business, technology, education, and the health sciences is very appealing to prospective students.”

Off-campus locations and the availability of online courses continue to make higher education more accessible, she added.

“The reasons why students come to the ETSU campus are many,” said Dr. Bert C. Bach, ETSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.  “It may be to seek professional advancement or a higher paying job, to acquire new skills, or simply to pursue intellectual challenges.  Whatever their educational and career goals are, we are here to support them.”

The ETSU School of Graduate Studies witnessed an increase of approximately 5 percent in the number of doctoral students.  According to Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Cecilia McIntosh, the school’s doctoral offerings now include 13 programs, including the recently approved Doctor of Practice in Nursing (DNP), which welcomed its inaugural class this year.  ETSU also accepted its first group of students in the new experimental psychology concentration.

McIntosh noted that when Stanton moved into the ETSU presidency in 1997, only three doctoral programs were offered by ETSU.  A total of 10 new ones were added during his administration, and ETSU also earned a Doctoral/Research Universities-Intensive classification by the Carnegie Foundation.

“President Stanton has been a true champion for doctoral education,” she said.

ETSU will celebrate its centennial during an event on Monday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. in the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center.  The university will also make history this December when the first class of students begins the inaugural Winter Session on Dec. 20.


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