Preliminary Numbers Reveal Steady Enrollment Rate

The Cope Administration building on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015. The building underwent a 10-month project to repair and renovate the 51-year-old structure. (MTSU Sidelines/Samantha Hearn)

Middle Tennessee State University’s preliminary enrollment numbers, released on Sunday, reveal a steady rate of undergraduate students as well as transfer students for the fall 2015 semester, according to a press release from the university.

MTSU’s undergraduate enrollment rate has increased by 1 percent, or 36 students, international enrollment has increased by 6.6 percent, or 209 students, and transfer enrollment has increased 10.4 percent, or 193 students. These increases compensate for the 4.2 percent decrease in enrollment of full-time freshmen over the last year.

“I am pleased that so many recognize the quality of our faculty, programs and facilities and place their faith in us by choosing MTSU for a full university experience,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “And we stand ready to partner with our community colleges in providing the next step for our new Promise students.”

McPhee noted that the numbers reflect efforts to reposition the university in the light of changes brought forward by the advent of Tennessee Promise, which offers high school seniors free tuition at the Tennessee Board of Regents’ community colleges.

“Our intent is to provide a quality, affordable option to students seeking a four-year university experience, while also reaching out to students seeking a transfer destination that helps them reach their goals,” he said.

Along with the increases in undergraduate, transfer and international enrollment, the university’s number of dual enrollment students has also increased — a drastic 1,008 percent — from 37 students to 410 from last year.

In an interview with WMOT, Vice Provost of Student Affairs and Vice Provost for Enrollment and Academic Services Deb Sells explained that the dual enrollment program allows high school students to enroll in college level courses and, upon successful completion, receive both high school credit for the course and the appropriate number of credit hours toward their college transcript.

“It’s a pretty popular program. Students have been taking those courses primarily from the community colleges for many years because the community college tuition was slightly less than that of the university’s. This past year, the Board of Regents made a decision to change the policy around tuition so that we could charge a specific dual enrollment tuition rate, which, coupled with the dual enrollment grant that’s available through the state, made those just as affordable at the universities as at the community colleges, and you can see what that did to our numbers.”

Sells also said she was “gratified to see the growth in our transfer class.” MTSU emphasized this area over the past two years by designating transfer admissions specialists and holding a transfer summit for TBR community college leaders.

“More than 50 percent of our students each year bring to MTSU some credits from another institution,” Sells said. “And as we look at the number of new students at our partner community colleges, we are excited at the possibility of bringing these students to MTSU when they complete their associate’s degree two years from now.”

*Fall enrollment numbers will be finalized on day 14 of classes.

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To contact news editor Sarah Grace Taylor, email

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