Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — This week, the wait will be over for 5,000 additional high school seniors who have applied to attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the fall.

This is the final batch of students to be admitted; about 3,493 students already have been admitted.

From this group of nearly 8,400 admitted students, admissions officials anticipate about 4,100 will enroll as part of the 2009-2010 freshman class.

All applicants -– whether they are admitted or denied -– will be receiving letters. Students also can learn their status by checking their online profiles.

“We have high hopes that our incoming freshman class will be among the best and brightest we’ve seen,” said Richard Bayer, assistant provost and director of enrollment services. “We were very pleased with the admissions process, especially since the deadline was two months earlier than usual.”

Moving the admission deadline up to Dec. 1, rather than Feb. 1, brought UT in line with many other selective universities. It allowed admissions to evaluate all applications at the same time and more promptly inform students of their final admission status. It also helped the university award its new need-based grants to qualified students.

This fall, a new admissions initiative called “Achieve the Dream” will make grant money available to help students from lower-middle-income families attend UT Knoxville.

Assistant Dean of Financial Aid Jeff Gerkin said the Achieve the Dream program -– which redirects available institutional resources — will provide grant monies to Tennessee students who often fall between the cracks. It targets those whose family incomes that are too high to qualify them for federal Pell Grants or UT Knoxville’s Pledge Scholarship, but still need financial help with college costs.

Achieve the Dream grants are $3,000 and can be used on top of the lottery-funded Hope Scholarships. The university has allotted about $1.5 million for the new program. Gerkin said he expects Achieve the Dream grants will help about 493 students in its first year.

“We’ve been working with admissions for some time to develop a program to help middle-class income students whose financial needs often get overlooked by other scholarship programs,” Gerkin said. “In keeping with the university’s goal of making UT more accessible to Tennessee residents, we have continued to find ways to redirect current dollars and help relieve the financial burden.”

The Achieve the Dream program is part of UT Knoxville’s commitment to make education affordable for all academically eligible Tennesseans.

UT also offers the Pledge Scholarship to help low-income students and the Promise Scholarship, targeting students from a group of high schools around the state that traditionally have sent few students to the flagship campus.

Approved by the UT Board of Trustees in the summer of 2005 and offered for the first time that fall, the Pledge Scholarship provides for the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, books, and room and board, to Tennessee students whose families have adjusted gross incomes of $36,000 or less.

The Promise Scholarship provides up to the cost of in-state tuition and fees per year for four years when combined with the HOPE and other university scholarships.

These scholarships and grants, along with the traditional guaranteed and merit scholarships available to Tennesseans, are outlined on the Web at


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,