Enrollment & Retention
St. Thomas has maintained an overall stable enrollment despite challenges related to the economy, increased competition and ever-present concerns about the cost of a higher education. In 2011, undergraduate enrollment was 6,176, with first-year student enrollment of 1,324, and graduate enrollment was 4,328.
In the last five years, undergraduate enrollment has increased slightly while graduate enrollment has declined more than 10 percent. St. Thomas has become more diverse in the last decade and enrolls about 14 percent students of color and three percent international students.
First year enrollment in particular has remained strong, with entering classes exceeding 1,300 students. First year-to-sophomore retention rates have averaged 88 percent. Graduation rates have been constant, in the low 60 percent range for the four-year rate and low to mid-70 percent range for the six-year rate.
The average ACT score of incoming first-year students has increased over time, from 23.1 in 1991 to 25.7 in 2011. The undergraduate discount rate also has increased over five years, for first-year and all undergraduate students, in order for St. Thomas to remain competitive with financial aid packages offered by other institutions. The university’s discount rate is competitive with the discount rate of other private schools in the region.
A five-year summary of key undergraduate enrollment indicators, including discount rates, is available to candidates upon request. Further information about fall 2011 enrollment can be found in the university’s online publication Bulletin Today.
The university has experienced an overall decrease in graduate and first professional enrollment since 2007, with the Opus College of Business experiencing the greatest decline. In contrast, the School of Engineering has seen a noticeable increase in enrollment.
Factors impacting enrollment include changes in employment status, employer tuition remission program modifications and financial concerns of potential and current students. With economic changes in mind, St. Thomas has focused on marketing and communication initiatives to better recruit graduate students.
In addition to the decline in graduate enrollment, St. Thomas has also experienced a decrease in committed credit hours, which appears to be a direct result of the changes in local employers’ tuition remission programs. St. Thomas is working on partnership opportunities that offer mutually beneficial financial incentives for students and employers.
Detailed information regarding graduate and first professional enrollment and credit hours is available to candidates upon request.