The largest freshman class in its 115-year history and a 7 percent increase in graduate students have resulted in record-high enrollment at the University of St. Thomas this fall.

According to figures released today by the university, total enrollment stands at 11,435, a 4 percent increase over last year’s 10,955, which also had been a record.

Undergraduate enrollment this fall is a record 5,469 and a 1 percent increase over last year. Graduate enrollment is a record 5,966, a 7 percent increase over last year.

There are 1,072 new freshmen on campus this fall, an increase of 26 over last year. Based on test scores and other criteria, the class of 2004 is the brightest freshman class in St. Thomas history. The average ACT comprehensive score of this year’s freshman class is a record-high 24.9, a slight increase from last year’s 24.7 but a significant increase from the 23.7 in 1996. The average high school rank is 77, unchanged from last year but up from 74 the two previous years.

For the most past, the freshman class was filled by the end of April, one of the earliest dates on record. The university has had a highly selective admissions process since May 1.

According to Marla Friederichs, associate vice president of enrollment, this year’s freshman class includes students from 20 states, 12 foreign countries and 374 high schools. The class has 11 National Merit Scholars; 133 students who had 4.0 or higher high school grade-point averages; three with perfect ACT English scores; two with perfect math scores; 11 with perfect reading scores; and three with perfect science scores.

The undergraduate enrollment includes 264 students who transferred from other schools, which is down from last year’s 295. The university’s undergraduate evening and weekend division, the School of Continuing Studies, enrolls 490 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 at St. Thomas. Overall, 52 percent of students are women, which is down a percent from the last two years. For undergraduates, 53 percent are women, down a percent from last year, and 53 percent of new freshman are women, down 3 percent from last year. At the graduate level, 52 percent are women this year compared to 51 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 76,804 credit hours compared to 75,302 last year. Graduate students are taking exactly 30,000 credit hours, compared to 26,917 last year. Overall, the number of credit hours increased 4.5 percent, from 102,219 last year to 106,804 this year.

With the exception of especially strong growth in graduate-level software classes, 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:

  • Total undergraduate, 5,469, up 1 percent; day undergraduate, 4,979, up 1 percent; School of Continuing Studies (formerly New College), 490, up 1 percent;
  • Graduate School of Business overall, 3,025, up less than 1 percent; Business Communication, 220, up 11 percent; Executive MBA, 174, down 12 percent; International Management, 283, up 4 percent; Management (various MBA programs), 2,288, up less than 1 percent; Accounting MBA, 6, down 60 percent; Medical Group Management, 54, down 11 percent;

  • School of Education overall, 1,267, up 20 percent; on-campus degree programs, 987, up 4 percent; extended-degree (off-campus) programs, 280, up 172 percent;

  • Graduate Department of Professional Psychology, 181, up 2 percent;

  • Graduate School of Applied Science and Engineering overall, 1,059, up 21 percent; Manufacturing Systems and Engineering, 226, up 1 percent; Software Engineering, 833, up 29 percent;
  • School of Divinity overall, 110, down 16 percent; Pastoral Studies Division, 39, down 24 percent; Seminary Division, 71, down 11 percent;
  • School of Arts and Sciences overall, 108, down 4 percent; Art History (new two years ago), 21, up 5 percent; English, 60, up 3 percent; Music Education, 22, down 24 percent; Piano Pedagogy, 5, no change (this program is being discontinued).

Here’s a percentage breakdown on this fall’s enrollment by graduate division: business, 51 percent; education, 21 percent; science and engineering, 18 percent; social work, 4 percent; psychology, 3 percent; and divinity and arts and sciences, about 2 percent each.

Enrollment at the university’s St. Paul campus is 7,578; that’s up from last year’s 7,299, down from 8,068 in 1998, and well below the 10,000-student ceiling required under a city zoning agreement. The Minneapolis campus, meanwhile, has 3,305, up from 3,121 last year and way up 2,077 in 1998.

Here’s the enrollment (this year and last year) at other St. Thomas sites: Chaska, 198, last year 193; Owatonna, 106, last year 116; Anoka, 186, last year 161; Mall of America, 362, last year 375; Rochester, 36, last year 31; East St. Paul (Woodbury), 96, last year 79; study abroad and Washington Semester, 82, last year 85; London Semester, 44; last year 53.

Also on the off-campus list this year are Thunder Bay, 10; Taiwan, 51 (up from 19 last year); Bahamas, 86; and Carlson Companies Inc. in Minnetonka, 24.

Enrollment includes 23 Continuing Studies students who are inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights; and 64 students who attend classes primarily using the World Wide Web.