The largest freshman class in its 114-year history contributed to a record-high enrollment this fall at the University of St. Thomas.
According to figures released Wednesday by the university’s Office of Institutional Research and Planning, total enrollment stands at 10,955, a 2 percent increase over last year’s 10,790, which also had been a record. There are 1,046 new freshman on campus this fall, an increase of eight over last year.
Based on test scores and high school class rank, this also is the brightest freshman class in St. Thomas history. This year’s freshman class ACT comprehensive score is a record-high 24.7. That’s up from 24.3 in 1998, 24.2 in 1997, and 23.7 in 1996. The average high school rank is 77, up from 74 the two previous years.
Total undergraduate enrollment this fall is a record 5,399; the previous record was 5,304 last fall. Total graduate-level enrollment is a record 5,556; up from last year’s 5,486. The previous record, set in 1995, was 5,513.
This year’s undergraduate enrollment includes 295 students who transferred from other schools, which is down from last year’s 306. The university’s undergraduate evening and weekend division, the School of Continuing Studies, enrolls 484 students, up a percent from last fall.
In recent years the trend at St. Thomas, as at many colleges and universities, has been a growing percentage of women students. That growth has leveled off this year. Overall, 53 percent of St. Thomas students are women, which is the same as last year. Two other percentages are unchanged: 54 percent of undergraduates and 56 percent of new freshmen are women. At the graduate level, 51 percent are women this year compared to 52 percent last year.
The number of credit hours, which reflects the number of classes students are taking, are at record highs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. This year undergraduates are taking 75,302 credit hours, compared to 73,170 last year. Graduate students are taking 26,917 credit hours, compared to 25,760 last year. Overall, the number of credit hours increased 3 percent, from 98,930 last year to 102,219 this year.
Some graduate-level St. Thomas courses, especially some of those offered at off-campus sites, begin meeting later in the semester than the day on which enrollment figures are traditionally counted, which is on the 10th day of classes. In past years, these students sometimes were counted, and sometimes not. This resulted in slight year-to-year fluctuations, and in some cases the reported enrollment numbers did not reflect the actual number of students who eventually enrolled for a semester. This year, and in future years, the university will ensure that such students are enrolled by the 10th day of classes so they will be included in the enrollment numbers.
There were no major enrollment swings throughout the university this fall. Following are program-by-program enrollment numbers. Enrollment is listed first, followed by the percentage increase or decrease. (The large increases in two graduate programs, Executive MBA and Medical Group Management, are in part a result of the new enrollment-counting policy.)
• Total undergraduate, 5,399, up 2 percent; day undergraduate, 4,915, up 2 percent; School of Continuing Studies (formerly New College), 484, up 1 percent;
• Graduate School of Business overall, 3,022, up 4 percent; Business Communication, 199, down 15 percent; Executive MBA, 197, up 479 percent; International Management, 272, up 3 percent; Management (various MBA programs), 2,278, down 2 percent; Accounting MBA, 15, up 36 percent; Medical Group Management, 61, up 110 percent;
• School of Education overall, 1,053, down 10 percent; on-campus degree programs, 950, down 6 percent; extended-degree (off-campus) programs, 103, down 36 percent;
• Graduate Department of Professional Psychology, 177, down 2 percent;
• School of Social Work, 189, up 1 percent;
• Graduate School of Applied Science and Engineering overall, 872, up 8 percent; Manufacturing Systems and Engineering, 224, down 2 percent; Software Engineering, 648, up 12 percent;
• School of Divinity overall, 131, down 4 percent; Pastoral Studies Division, 51, no change; Seminary Division, 80, down 6 percent;
• School of Arts and Sciences overall, 112, up 13 percent; Art History (new last year), 20, up 82 percent; English, 58, no change; Music Education, 29, up 45 percent; Piano Pedagogy, 5, down 50 percent (this program is being discontinued).
Here’s a percentage breakdown on this fall’s enrollment by graduate division:
business, 54 percent; education, 19 percent; science and engineering, 16 percent; psychology and social work, about 3 percent each; and divinity and arts and sciences, about 2 percent each.
Enrollment at the university’s St. Paul campus is 7,299; that’s down from last year’s 8,068 and well below the 10,000-student ceiling required under a city zoning agreement. The Minneapolis campus, meanwhile, has 3,121, which is a significant jump over last year’s 2,077. The shift from St. Paul to Minneapolis is the result of the School of Education’s move this summer from its former home in Christ Child Hall on Summit Avenue to its new home in Opus Hall in downtown Minneapolis.
Here’s the enrollment (this year and last year) at other St. Thomas sites: Chaska, 193, last year 217; Owatonna, 116, last year 109; Anoka, 161, last year 216; Mall of America, 375, last year 364; Rochester, 31, last year 17; East St. Paul (Woodbury), 79, last year 87; study abroad and Washington Semester, 85, last year 103; London Semester, 53; last year 50. Also on the off-campus list this year are Thunder Bay, seven; Taiwan, 19; and the Ford plant in St. Paul, 41.
St. Thomas’ enrollment also includes 87 students who attend classes primarily using the World Wide Web.