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Student Quality Up as New Academic Year Begins

Published: August 26, 2004

The brightest incoming class in UT history arrived this week.  On Wednesday, more than 1,000 new freshmen and 350 transfer students arrived with their families for check-in, move-in and orientation. The bustle will continue in high gear through the end of the week. Families will remain on campus until Thursday afternoon.


Average high school grade-point average of the 2004 entering class is 3.3, up from 3.2 a year ago, said Barbara Strickler, vice president for enrollment. Those with GPAs in excess of 3.0 comprise 76 percent of the entering class, up from 71 percent last fall. The incoming class also registers slightly higher SAT and ACT scores, Strickler said, and both already were well above the national average.


Strickler attributes the quality increase to UT’s large increase in applicants, allowing the University to choose more academically qualified students. More than 6,000 prospective students applied for UT admission this fall, an increase of roughly 500 from a year ago, and up some 2,000 from three years ago. Accordingly, the acceptance rate decreased from 62 percent last year to 51 percent for 2004. Nationally, the acceptance rate is 70 percent, Strickler said.


More than 3,800 students are signed up to attend full-time. That total includes nearly 1,400 new students (incoming freshmen and transfers) and more than 2,500 continuing students. The University has completed a decade of annual enrollment increases, with total fall 2004 head count at about 4,900 students. All of them will study at an institution that has consistently increased its reputation in higher learning along with the size and stature of its instructional staff, to which another 30 new members are added this fall.


Since the last academic year began, a sixth UT professor, Dr. Anthony LaRose, was named a Fullbright scholar, while another, Dr. James Beckman, published the world’s first cross-referenced affirmative action encyclopedia. Dr. Terry Parssinen has reaped critical acclaim for a book published last year that is winning regard as a major contribution to world history, and over the summer, Dr. Robert Kerstein was named official Hillsborough County historian.


The expansion and upgrade of the University’s facilities has continued, as well. The R.K. Bailey Art Studios, including the new Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, will be fully operational and dedicated early this fall. Creation of a new 11-story residence hall was approved during the summer.


UT’s final fall 2004 enrollment figures will become available in mid-September.


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