During my remarks at University Convocation on August 15, I promised that I would keep you updated on our 2019-2020 enrollment numbers and the potential impact to our budget. Now that the enrollment census is complete, I’m able to share some additional information.
When I spoke to you in August, we anticipated our student enrollment to be significantly down for this coming year. I’m pleased to report that our final numbers this fall were nearly flat as compared to last year, and we remain the third largest university in the UNC System. We enrolled a total of 29,615 students this fall, which is 95 students fewer as compared to last year at the same time.
In fact, we experienced record growth with our graduate programs enrolling the largest class in UNC Charlotte’s history - a total of 5,545 students, including 1,073 doctoral students. In addition, our undergraduate freshman class is one of our most diverse and strongest academically - with an average GPA of 4.0. These outcomes are a testament to the quality of our undergraduate and graduate programs, our talented faculty and staff, and the departments that worked tirelessly to recruit this year’s class.
While our enrollment numbers were better than expected, we are still evaluating the financial impact to this year’s budget. We will keep you updated once we have a more complete picture.
We have a lot to be proud of as we start the new academic year. Our student success efforts have improved on-time graduation rates by 7% in two years, reducing our students’ loan debt. We also have a number of exciting initiatives launching this year including the recent announcement of an interim executive director for our Data Science initiative, four new bachelor’s programs and a new master’s degree in computer engineering in the planning stages, the 50th anniversary of the Urban Institute and the 20th anniversary of the College of Computing and Informatics.
It will be a busy year ahead!
Philip L. Dubois