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UT is preparing to welcome its largest freshman class on record—about 5,180 students.

Those new freshmen, combined with about 1,320 new transfer students, mean the campus is expecting about 6,500 new students on Rocky Top for the start of classes Wednesday.

“We are very excited to continue on this path of attracting amazing students and are looking forward to what they accomplish during their time as Volunteers,” said Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Kari Alldredge.

Undergraduate enrollment is expected to top 22,000 again this year. Official enrollment numbers are not final until the 14th day of the fall semester.

Students began moving into residence halls last week. About 7,500 students are expected to live in university housing this year.

Freshman enrollment has grown each year since 2012. That growth is linked to the university’s increasing graduation rate, expected to reach 72 percent this year. This record high percentage demonstrates UT’s continued commitment to graduating students on time.

Serving the state

As the state’s flagship institution, UT continues to serve students from across the state, with nearly 80 percent of this year’s freshman class hailing from 91 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

While 45 percent of in-state students come from the state’s largest cities—Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Clarksville—55 percent come from other cities and towns throughout the state. The top five counties outside of Knox County are Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Shelby, and Williamson.

“We are attracting some of the best students from across the state who are deciding to come to UT for their education,” said Assistant Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Fabrizio D’Aloisio. “They are joining a class that includes students from across the United States and other countries, which provides them with a rich first-year experience that combines outstanding academic opportunities such as hands-on learning, research, and extracurricular activities.”

More details about the Class of 2022:

  • Students in the middle 50 percent of the class have ACT scores between 25 and 30 and a high school GPA between 3.6 and 4.3.
  • They come from 43 states, with Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois being the top five out-of-state markets for freshmen.
  • They come from 29 countries outside of the United States.
  • Students from underrepresented groups make up more than 19 percent of the freshman class.
  • About 980 freshmen will arrive at UT as first-generation college students.
  • Honors students make up about 15 percent of the class.
  • A record-setting 218 are participating in the Volunteer Bridge Program, which allows students to live on the UT campus while completing their first year at Pellissippi State Community College. Those who successfully complete the first-year requirements can transfer to UT as sophomores.
  • About 26 percent of incoming freshmen are eligible for Pell grants.
  • About 95 percent of in-state freshmen qualify for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship.

Attracting Transfers

UT continues to serve a strong transfer population from two- and four-year institutions.

This year’s transfer students come from 79 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The top in-state counties other than Knox County for transfer students are Blount, Davidson, Sevier, Shelby, and Williamson. Sixty-three percent of transfers come from the state’s five largest cities: Knoxville, Nashville, Clarksville, Chattanooga, and Memphis.

More details about transfer students:

  • They come from 33 states outside Tennessee, with Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, and Texas being top five.
  • The top five two-year institutions from which students transfer are Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Walters State Community College in Morristown, Roane State Community College in Harriman, Columbia State Community College in Columbia, and Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.
  • They come from 20 countries outside of the United States.
  • About 18 percent of transfer students are from underrepresented groups.
  • About 387 will arrive at UT as first-generation college students.
  • About 32 percent are economically eligible for Pell grants.
  • About 25 percent of in-state transfer students qualify for the state’s lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship.

Student Success

This year, the university is predicting its first-year retention rates will hit new highs, with 87 percent of last year’s freshmen expected to return this fall for their sophomore year and 82 percent of last year’s incoming transfer students returning for a second year.

Increases in retention are linked to recent investments in student success. The university has added more financial support for students and has hired additional advisors, academic coaches, and career counselors to help students reach their full potential.

Faculty members are also key players in supporting student success and retention. When a student is struggling in class, faculty members alert the Student Success Center so the student can receive assistance as early as possible. The faculty’s use of engaging and innovative teaching helps students succeed and prepares them to become future leaders.

Through these investments and other efforts, UT has the highest first-year retention and four- and six-year graduation rates of all public universities in the state.

Classes begin August 22.

Media coverage: News Sentinel, August 17; WATE, August 18, WATE, August 15; WBIR, August 22; News Sentinel, August 22; Daily Beacon (Chancellor’s letter), August 22; The Daily Times, August 23; Daily Beacon, August 27


Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365,