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UT is set to surpass last year’s record enrollment as students begin their first day of classes today. More than 6,700 new students are expected this year, including freshmen, transfer, and Volunteer Bridge students.

Undergraduate enrollment is likely to top 23,000, including more than 5,250 freshmen and 1,380 transfer students, and graduate and professional student enrollment is expected to top 6,000. Official enrollment numbers are not final until the 14th day of the fall semester.

“I have met many of these impressive students as they’ve arrived this week and I am excited to see the great things they will achieve while they are here,” said Provost David Manderscheid. “This year’s record enrollment numbers demonstrate our commitment at UT to serving the state and educating as many students as we can.”

Nearly 90 percent of all first-time freshmen from Tennessee are offered some pathway to UT, including Volunteer Bridge, a joint program with Pellissippi State Community College.

Highlights from the Class of 2023

  • Members of this year’s freshman class hail from 88 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The top five counties are Knox, Williamson, Shelby, Davidson, and Hamilton.
  • Freshmen come from 46 states and 26 countries. Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, and Maryland are the top five sources of out-of-state freshmen. Top countries outside the US are China, India, Canada, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Underrepresented minority students make up 20 percent of the freshman class.
  • Students in the middle 50 percent of the class have ACT scores between 24 and 31, with a high school GPA average between 3.0 and 4.0.
  • Nearly 200 freshmen are participating in Volunteer Bridge.
  • Nearly 22 percent of freshmen are first-generation college students.
  • More than 95 percent of in-state freshmen qualify for the HOPE Scholarship.

Commitment to student success

Enrollment has steadily grown over the past seven years, reflecting UT’s commitment to student success and retention. Academic support includes one-on-one academic coaching, supplemental instruction, tutoring, and early intervention programs.

A record 84 percent of full-time transfer students are returning for a second year.

“UT is a place for all kinds of students,” said Kari Alldredge, vice provost for enrollment management. “Whether they are first generation, transfer, or Bridge students, our advisors guide them through the application process at UT to ensure they find their home away from home. We want all of our students to have the best experience possible.”

Retention rates for first-time freshmen returning for their sophomore year is expected to hold steady at 87 percent.

UT has the highest first-year retention and four- and six-year graduation rates of any public university in the state.

“To foster student success and increase retention and graduation rates, the university has hired additional advisors and added staff who can connect students to on-campus resources that support academic success,” said R. J. Hinde, vice provost for academic affairs. “The university is also developing programs to support students who are the first in their family to attend college to help them navigate their first year and beyond.”

In May, UT was designated a First Forward institution by the Center for First-Generation Student Success. The designation reflects the university’s demonstrated commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes for first-generation college students.

Early intervention measures are designed to help all students and rely on faculty members as key players in promoting student success and retention. When a student is struggling in class, faculty members alert the Division of Academic Success and Transitions so the student can receive assistance and support.

“Engaging and innovative teaching by instructors helps students transition into the university, be successful in the classroom, and become future leaders in the state, nation, and the world,” said Hinde.

Additional campus updates

Last month, the College of Social Work and the Tickle College of Engineering welcomed new deans—Lori Messinger and Janis Terpenny, respectively. Jeff Fairbrother began serving as interim dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences July 1.

To support UT’s enrollment growth, the university continues to expand its faculty and will be searching this fall for 20 new faculty positions in addition to replacing retired and departed faculty. The university launched searches for 27 new faculty positions during the past academic year.

This fall, UT is launching five new programs—a bachelor’s degree in information sciences, an online master’s degree in supply chain management, a master’s degree and graduate certificate in medical physics, and a graduate certificate program in engineering education.

The College of Architecture and Design has established a new academic unit, the School of Design. The school plans to offer a minor in graphic design and an interdisciplinary graduate program.

Meanwhile, UT is continuing to invest in campus improvements, including more than $2 million in classroom renovations over the summer, with 62 classrooms receiving complete overhauls.

Two new residence halls opened—Dogwood and Magnolia. UT also re-opened Laurel Hall after an extensive remediation and improvements last year. About 7,700 students are expected to live in university housing this year.

Lake Loudoun Boulevard was repaved and decorative crosswalks were added. Site preparation continues for a new dining facility to replace the Presidential Complex. Work also continues on the new Engineering Complex next to Neyland Stadium, which is expected to open in fall 2021.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Megan Boehnke (865-974-3242,