Largest-ever Freshman Class Contributes to Several Enrollment Records Here This Fall

A bumper crop of new freshmen contributed to several enrollment-related records at the University of St. Thomas this fall. The fall 2010 freshman class of 1,521 was by far the largest ever for the 125-year-old university.  St. Thomas welcomed 169 more new freshmen on campus than last year’s record of 1,352.

According to the Official 10th Day Census that was published recently by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, St. Thomas experienced slight declines in graduate-level enrollment, but in addition to the freshman class, it set new records in undergraduate enrollment and credit hours, overall credit hours and the number of students living on campus.


  • Total enrollment is 10,839, down 12 from last year. The university's peak enrollment of 11,570 was set in 2001. Enrollment in 1885, the year St. Thomas opened, was 62.
  • Undergraduate enrollment is a record 6,274; that’s up 128 from last year and up 110 from the previous record set two years ago.  
  • Graduate enrollment is 4,565, down 140 from last year.
  • Credit hours, which represent the number of courses that students are taking, stands at a record 124,046.5; that is up 1130.5 from the previous record set two years ago.  Undergraduates are taking a record 92,801 credit hours, up 2,081 from last year. Graduate students are taking 31,245.5 credit hours, down 846.5 from last year.
  • One out of four students is new to campus this fall and one in three is classified as part-time. Undergraduates comprise 58 percent of all St. Thomas students but account for 75 percent of the credit hours.

Those numbers are in the enrollment report that can be found on this IR&A Web site. Click on "10th Day Enrollment." The report includes 56 pages of quantitative information, charts and official numbers about St. Thomas. (Note: You need to be using a St. Thomas e-mail account in order to open the report.)

The percentage of undergraduate students who are persons of color this fall stands at 14.5 percent; that is the same as last year but up from 12 percent in 2008. The percentage of students of color among freshmen dropped from 14.2 percent last year to 10.3 percent this year. The percentage of graduate students of color is 14.2 percent this fall, up from 13.2 percent last year and 10.7 percent in 2006.

These percentages would likely be higher if international students of color were included.  St. Thomas does not use the race of students from other countries when calculating the overall percentage of its students of color. This fall St.Thomas has 300 students from other countries, which is up 10 from last year.

At a time when some colleges and universities are enrolling more women than men, the St. Thomas male-female ratio shows an even 50-50 split. The percentage has not changed much over the past decade. For new freshmen this year, women outnumber the men by a slim margin of 50.23 percent to 49.77 percent. Last year, however, male freshmen outnumbered the females 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent.

Freshmen are coming from a slightly larger number of high schools this year (417 compared to 413 last year) and states (33 compared to 31 last year). Other characteristics of the freshman class also show slight gains. The average class rank of 75 is up two and the number of freshmen who had perfect 4.0 high-school averages increased from 130 last year to 166 this year.  The average high school G.P.A. of 3.5 is unchanged but the freshman ACT scores increased slightly from 25.42 last year to 25.49.

Of those freshman students reporting a religious affiliation, 52.8 percent reported they are Roman Catholic. That’s a marked, one-year drop from 62 percent a year ago and lower than the 61.8 percent for all undergraduates. That compares to 43.7 percent for graduate students and 66.4 percent for a category called "first professional," which includes all law school students and a portion of graduate students from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. 

The number of students living on the St. Paul campus this fall is 2,686, which is 68 more than last year’s record of 2,618.

While enrollment is down this year at the undergraduate St. John Vianney Seminary, it is up at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity. St. John Vianney, which opened here in fall 1968, has 137 seminarians this fall, down from the record-high 165 last year.  The School of Divinity welcomed 33 new seminarians this fall, bringing the number of men studying for the priesthood there to 92. That is the largest number since 1981.

The number of undergraduates who transferred to St. Thomas this fall is 264, down 26 from last year.

Enrollment on the university's St. Paul campus is 7,686, up 321 from last year. St. Thomas is limited to 8,750 students on its main campus under a Conditional Use Permit that was approved in 2004. The highest enrollment in St. Paul was 8,712 in 1991, the year before the university opened its Minneapolis campus.

More than twice as many St. Thomas students come from Hennepin County (3,177) as from the next closest county, Ramsey (1,456).Here’s the graduate-level enrollment and credit hours, and the percent change from last year, for St. Thomas’ colleges and schools:

Program Enrollment % Change from 2009 Credit hours % Change from 2009
College of Arts and Sciences 165 - 5.7 704 - 6.4
Opus College of Business 1,450 -8.7 8,453 - 10.6
School of Divinity 120 -4.0 1,426 + 4.3
College of Applied Professional Studies 1,391 +0.07 7,291 - 0.6
School of Engineering 575 +1.2 2,681 - 0.9
School of Law 476 +2.6 6,846.5 +1.1
School of Social Work 388 -1.8 3,844 + 3.9
Total 4,565 -3.0 31,245.5  - 2.6

In addition to enrollment numbers, the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis Web site has the most up-to-date student characteristic reports.