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KNOXVILLE—Approximately 4,200 freshmen will begin classes on Wednesday at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. By average ACT scores, they rank among the top 8 percent of students statewide.

Move-in begins Saturday for more than 7,500 new and returning students who will converge on UT’s nine residence halls across campus. About 89 percent of the freshmen are Tennessee residents; the class is expected to be 19 percent minority and almost 9 percent African American.

The class has the highest average ACT score in UT’s history. The freshman class’s average score was 26.7, 0.3 higher than last year. The new class has an average GPA of 3.87, compared to 3.81 last year. Forty-six percent come to UT with average high school GPAs of 4.0 or better, compared to 41 percent last year.

The qualifications of our students are already in line with the Top 25 public research universities, Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said.

“Serving such high ability students fuels our determination to elevate our programs and improve our facilities to provide a world class education for our students,” Cheek said. “Among Tennessee students who took the ACT, our incoming freshmen are at the ninety-second percentile—underscoring the fact that they are the state’s best and brightest students.”

Richard Bayer, assistant provost and director of enrollment services, said UT is attracting “a critical mass of high ability students.”

“When high-ability students come to campus, they feel comfortable and know this is the place they ought to be.”

As in previous years, about 99 percent of the in-state, incoming freshmen qualified for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE, which provides $4,000 per year toward tuition and fees. The lottery scholarship is a factor in the significant rise in freshman qualifications over the last several years.

UT has added many services to support students once they arrive on campus and has expanded opportunities for high-achieving students, including growing honors and scholarship programs, more residential learning communities, and an emphasis on study abroad.

To make sure that money is not a stumbling block for the state’s academically qualified students, UT Knoxville has implemented several new scholarship programs during the past few years. This year, about 60 percent of the institutional scholarship dollars—those awarded by UT—are merit-based, and 40 percent are need-based. In 2005–2006, about 99 percent of UT’s institutional scholarships were merit-based.

Of this year’s in-state freshmen:

• 505, or about 14 percent, will receive the Tennessee Pledge Scholarship which, when combined with other federal, state and institutional aid, will cover mandatory costs—tuition, fees, room and board, and a book allowance. This year, the scholarship is available to students whose families have adjusted gross incomes of up to $40,000, which is about 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The average income of Pledge families is $21,757, compared to about $125,000 for all in-state students.

• 150, or about 4 percent, have received the Tennessee Promise Scholarship. The only program of its kind in the state, the Promise Scholarship is available to students from a group of eligible high schools across the state. Promise scholarships are valued at up to $8,396 per year plus a $1,200 book allowance. The average family income of Promise recipients is approximately $45,000.

• 332, or about 9 percent, have received Achieve the Dream grants. The program—for high-achieving students from middle-income Tennessee families—provides four-year grants up to $3,000 per year. The average family income of recipients is approximately $79,000.

Enrollment numbers are not finalized until the fourteenth day of class.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,