The largest freshman class in its history helped give St. Thomas its highest undergraduate enrollment on record. The combined graduate and undergraduate enrollment, although not a record, was up 2 percent this year.
Fall enrollment totaled 10,641, which was 2 percent higher than the 10,474 in 2004. The overall number of credit hours, a number important to those who must balance the university’s checkbook, was up 5 percent this fall. The university’s peak enrollment of 11,570 was set in 2001.
Perhaps one of the most significant numbers was the record freshman class of 1,325, up 166 students, or more than 14 percent, over the record class of 1,159 in 2004. St. Thomas also saw a 13 percent increase in undergraduate transfer students, 300 this year.
Reasons for the larger freshman class include a larger number of highly qualified applicants and more flexibility in campus housing because of the new Selby residence hall.
“We don’t expect this level of growth to continue,” said Dr. Tom Rochon, executive vice president and chief academic officer. “Our target for next year’s freshman class is smaller than the size of this year’s class.
“At the undergraduate level, we are at a size we are comfortable with. We are large enough to have the resources to offer a broad range of programs, and small enough to provide personal attention to our students.
“Overall, we are delighted with the enrollment numbers this year. Within our broad profile of programs, we have some increases and some decreases, but when you get to the bottom line, we have had a very successful year, and we feel good about the range of students that the university is serving this year.”
On the graduate level, the College of Business, which had seen enrollment declines in recent years, had increases in all but one of its existing seven programs. The only decline was in the Master of International Management Program, which is being phased out. An eighth College of Business program, in accounting, is new this year.
In other graduate and professional fields, the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity has 110 students; School of Education, 1,240; School of Engineering, 232; Graduate School of Professional Psychology, 203; School of Law, 413; and School of Social Work, 304.
In other news, St. Thomas has set a record for the number of residential students: 2,516.
At the undergraduate level, 50 percent of students are women. At the graduate level, 52 percent are women.
Enrollment on the St. Paul campus is 6,945, well below the 8,750 student cap that is stipulated by the city of St. Paul.