UNT defies national trend, grows by more than 3% while doubling down on commitment to graduate more students faster with degrees that work

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 16:00

DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas is defying national higher education trends with more than 3% growth, according to the latest enrollment numbers.

The rise is no surprise for President Neal Smatresk as, under his direction, the university has doubled down on its commitment to graduating more students, faster, with degrees that work.

This afternoon, Smatresk outlined UNT’s commitment to the future in a State of the University address to more than 700 university administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders. His vision matched the university’s consistent approach to providing students with a challenging and diverse education found only at a Tier One national research university while surrounding them with a supportive environment. The UNT difference is in a community dedicated to helping students discover what they can achieve.

Allison Taylor is one of 39,330 students choosing to define their futures at UNT this fall. She is on track to earn a biology degree in May, which will allow her to start a five-year direct Ph.D. program in order to become a neuroscience researcher. She started her journey with UNT’s Honors College in 2016 after graduating from a class of 17 people in a small town in West Texas.

At UNT, she found a community that cared about her success and helped her define her dream. As a freshman she became part of the PHAGES microbiology lab research team and has received an education that integrates biology with linguistics, psychology and the humanities so she has both the skills and critical thinking needed to achieve anything she desires.

“We are squarely focused on our students’ success, and we want to translate the scholarship that we do into making a difference in the North Texas region,” Smatresk said. “We’re going to continue to excel as a comprehensive university that builds strengths in the arts, humanities, social sciences, professional programs and STEM disciplines, and we will celebrate the creativity our campus is so well known for. We will stay true to our roots, and true to ourselves, as we continue to advance in the rankings.”

Earlier this week, U.S. News & World Report unveiled its 2020 College Rankings, rating UNT among the nation’s top 100 for social mobility and ethnic diversity. The ranking means more as UNT continues to meet the criteria to be designated as a Minority Serving Institution. UNT’s proportion of minority students increased 1.3%, increasing UNT’s minority majority. Now, 52.6% of the undergraduate student body is minority students, better reflecting the diverse population of the communities of North Texas.

UNT is committed to closing those gaps and helping all students chart the course for their futures.

Last year, Smatresk asked the UNT community to focus on improving its retention and graduation rates and after one year, the university is close to achieving its three-year goals: this fall nearly 80% of last year’s new freshmen returned to UNT, an increase of 1.6% (the 2018 state average retention rate for FTIC students is 78.2%). And, with nearly 9,600 degrees awarded in 2018-19, UNT’s four-year graduation rate for FTIC students jumped to 40% (an increase of 4.3% in one year, making UNT’s graduation rate 4.6 points higher than the state average of 35.4%).

This fall, a record 5,522 new freshmen chose UNT, an increase of 15.3% in first time in college students at the university. This year’s crop of new freshmen includes 32 new National Merit scholars for a total of 93 scholars studying at UNT.

Graduate enrollment is up to more than 7,000 students thanks to a 10% growth in students seeking master’s degrees to advance their careers. Students like Deena Peterson, who earned her master’s degree in advanced data analytics in 2019, along with a promotion to senior engineer at T-Mobile, making her responsible for leading automation and machine learning upgrades. Peterson found the exact degree she needed at UNT’s campus in Frisco, conveniently located only three minutes from her office.

This fall, UNT’s enrollment in classes in Collin County increased 36%, which means UNT is teaching 1,761 students at its locations in Frisco — Hall Park and Inspire Park — as well as at  the Collin Higher Education Center in McKinney. In August, the UNT System Board of Regents approved a master plan for the UNT branch campus in Frisco, situated on 100 acres at the southwest corner of Preston Road and Panther Creek Parkway. The new plan shows an accelerated timeline, with the first building projected to open in November 2022.

UNT’s commitment to providing the education students need in convenient locations and ways is also why the university saw an 8.2% increase in its online enrollment (from 17,740 students to 19,192 students). And, this fall 4,145 students are taking all of their classes online (an increase of 14.3%).

UNT’s enrollment by the numbers breaks down as:

  • 39,330 overall headcount, an increase of 3.3%
  • 32,229 undergraduate, an increase of 2.8%
  • 7,101 graduate, an increase of 5.4%
  • Online: 19,192 students take some courses online while 4,145 take ALL of their courses online 
  • 54.3 % female
  • 45.7% male
  • 9,794 Hispanic, a 6% increase over last year
  • 5,744 African-American, a 5.7% increase over last year
  • 3,107 Asian/Pacific Islander, a 10.2% increase over last year

Note: Until the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board verifies enrollment numbers and makes them official later in the fall, all enrollment statistics are unofficial, 12th class day numbers. 

UNT News Service
(940) 565-2108