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KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Enrollment of first time students from Shelby and other West Tennessee counties at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville has increased sharply since 1991.

 UT-Knoxville officials said Monday headcount enrollment this fall of freshmen from West Tennessee is up 194 students or 59 percent compared with 1991.

Shelby County posted the largest numerical gain of all Tennessee counties over the period, sending 374 first-time students to UT-Knoxville this fall. The gain was 60 percent or 141 students over 1991 enrollment.

 Enrollment of Middle Tennessee students over the same period is up 282 students or 50 percent. East Tennessee enrollments did not change over the six years.

 UT-Knoxville Chancellor Bill Snyder said much of the gain in West Tennessee can be attributed to increased recruiting efforts in the area.

 “Our admissions office staff is working hard to recruit the top students from West Tennessee,” Snyder said, “and our reputation as a place where students can get a quality education at an affordable price also is making a difference.”

 Snyder, who made his own recruiting trips to Shelby County this year, said new scholarship programs make UT-Knoxville more attractive to outstanding students.

 In 1992-93 UT-Knoxville awarded scholarships worth $4,487,768 to 3,391 students. This past year, 1996-97, the campus awarded $5,993,087 to 4,146 students.

 “We are fortunate to be able to offer more, better scholarships than we could five years ago,” Snyder said. “The average award last year was $1,445.”

 Since 1991 the admissions office has also hired a full-time student recruiter who lives and works in Shelby County, Snyder said.

 In addition to Shelby, some of the largest enrollment gains between 1991 and 1997 included the following West Tennessee counties: Henry, up 10 or 250 percent; Gibson, up four or 40 percent; and Tipton, up 5 or 60 percent.

 Total enrollment at UT-Knoxville of first-time freshmen by grand division: West Tennessee, 519; Middle Tennessee, 896; and East Tennessee, 1,635.

 Contact: Dr. Bill Snyder (423-974-3288)