For release: September 3, 2009
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843
If early enrollment figures this year follow the trend of previous years, the total
enrollment at the University of Memphis this fall will be approximately 21,700.
That’s 1,300 more students than last year, a 6-7 percent increase.
Although Tennessee Board of Regents campuses do not report their official figures
to Nashville until at least 14 days into the semester, U of M administrators say that
various indicators, including the actual number of people registered and the number
of credit hours they have registered for, all point to that large increase.
Looking at the entire U of M student body – undergraduate, graduate, and law students
– the number of credit hours for which students have signed up this year is 248,635,
an increase of 13,373 over last year’s 235,262.
The office of provost, the University’s top academic official, attributes the larger-than-usual
increase to several factors, with one of the most important being the public’s recognition
of the great value that Tennessee’s public colleges provide in higher education, that
is, a quality education at a cost significantly less than that of private or out-of-state
schools. Also, at a doctoral research university like the University of Memphis, there
is ample opportunity for internships, research experiences, and study-abroad programs
that enhance the educational experience.
“The public’s perception of the quality of public education available through the
TBR system is becoming more and more positive,” said Dr. Ralph Faudree, provost. “People
are realizing that an education at the University of Memphis is a great value, especially
for students who have the required high school grade point average to earn a HOPE
Scholarship or one of the many other academic scholarships available to them.”
Officials say that the current state of the national and Tennessee economies may also
be a real factor in more students enrolling at in-state public schools. “Parents and
students are having to look very hard at whether a more expensive school is really
worth the added cost,” said Dr. Thomas Nenon, vice provost for Assessment, Institutional
Research, and Reporting. “Also, professionals who want to enhance their marketability,
seek promotions, or change careers are enrolling in our master’s, doctoral, and graduate
Faudree also noted that the increased enrollment at the University of Memphis comes
at a time when the University is also enjoying an increased rate of graduation. This
past academic year the U of M awarded a record number of bachelor’s and doctoral degrees
(2,630 undergraduate and 1868 graduate, including 132 doctorates), yet the student
population still increased significantly, which demonstrates that the University is
admitting more new students and retaining more existing students at an even greater
rate than it is graduating students.
“Not only do we have more first-time freshman and transfer students,” he said, “but
this year we are seeing a 10 percent increase in graduate enrollment.”
Official enrollment figures will be reported to TBR no later than September 18th.