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It’s another record-setting year at UT Knoxville: with 4,825 incoming freshmen, the Class of 2020 is the largest in at least thirty years and marks the sixth consecutive year of freshman growth.

“We had one of the largest, most qualified applicant pools ever and we’re proud to welcome some of our state’s and our nation’s best and brightest freshmen to our campus,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

classof2020 v0.2This year’s freshmen have an average ACT score of 27 and an average high school GPA of 3.89. Forty-nine percent had high school GPAs over 4.0. About 10 percent of the freshmen are enrolled in UT Honors programs.

Classes start on Wednesday, August 17, but students begin returning to campus this week. The main move-in day is Saturday beginning at 8:00 a.m. More than 7,100 students will be living in residence halls, including the new White Residence Hall.

Cheek said UT’s strong enrollment numbers and well-qualified freshman classes are the result of dramatic increases in admissions outreach as well as improvements in academics, student life, and campus buildings and grounds.

Associate Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge said strategic efforts to involve more alumni, current students, and faculty and staff in outreach initiatives contributed to the 17,500-plus applications received from students seeking admission this year.

The chancellor’s statewide bus tour to high schools across the state, year-round alumni recruiting events, and new Volunteering with the Vols community service events held across the country aim to share a sense of the Volunteer community with more prospective students and their families.

“I think these were incredible ways to raise awareness about UT and recruit the outstanding students from our home state and beyond,” Alldredge said. “By attending these and other admissions events, undecided students and prospective students learned about the opportunities they can find at UT. They made friends, networked with people they’ll interact with on campus or in the work world, and they began to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

“Many of our new freshmen are arriving on campus this week with a clear sense of what it means to be a Volunteer,” she said.

The freshman class is about 18 percent minority. They represent 41 states and 11 countries and about 83 percent of this year’s freshmen hail from Tennessee.

Underscoring UT’s commitment to access, about 31 percent of the incoming freshmen are eligible for Pell grants. About 66 percent of UT-funded scholarships are merit-based and about 34 percent are need-based.

About 96 percent of in-state freshmen qualify for the for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship, which provides up to $3,500 in the first year toward tuition and fees.

UT expects to welcome about 1,300-plus transfer students this fall.

Transfer students have become an increasing important part of the recruitment process since the Tennessee Promise debuted last year, offering last-dollar scholarships for students to attend any of the state’s community colleges, colleges of applied technology or other eligible institutions. UT has increased efforts to recruit transfer students and help to ease their transition to university life. Full-time admissions counselors are based in Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis to assist students across Tennessee.

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


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,