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KNOXVILLE — It may only be March, but UT Knoxville is looking ahead to summer and an expanded summer school program.

Since 2006, UT summer school enrollment has been fairly steady at about 5,700 undergraduates. The goal is to increase this number by 20 percent this summer.

Two groups of students are being targeted: incoming, first-year students who want a “jump start” on their studies and upperclassmen who need critical courses to stay on track toward graduation.

Expanding the summer school program is important because incoming freshmen often need summer courses to prepare for the rigors of college life, and upperclassmen can use the summer to complete lower-level courses necessary to stay on track to graduate on time.

“Typically, many summer school students are upperclassmen — seniors, in particular –taking 100- and 200-level courses needed to graduate,” said Sally McMillan, vice provost for academic affairs. “Our goal is to encourage students to take lower-division courses during their first or second summer at UT so they won’t need them as upperclassmen and can participate in study abroad and internship opportunities instead.”

Summer school recruitment efforts are now in high gear. Faculty members are asked to talk to their students and encourage those who need the credits to graduate on time to sign up.

Because financial concerns have been a hindrance for some students considering summer school, UT is offering scholarships equivalent to 15 percent of the tuition for in-state and out-of-state students who take 100- or 200-level courses. In addition, students currently receiving the Pledge, Promise, or Achieve the Dream scholarships will receive an additional 10 percent scholarship — for a total of 25 percent of the cost of tuition — also for lower-division courses.

Registration for UT’s continuing students runs through June 1. The deadline for incoming freshmen to confirm summer school attendance is May 15. For more information, visit