Report shows largest freshman class ever, slight dips in overall enrollment and credit hours

The University of St. Thomas' string of large freshman classes in recent years was topped this fall by the largest in the university's 125-year history. St. Thomas welcomed 1,352 freshmen who walked through its Summit Avenue Arches at the start of the 2009-2010 school year; that's 30 more than last year and 27 more than the previous record set in 2005.

According to the Official 10th Day Census that was published Monday by the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis (IR&A), St. Thomas experienced slight declines this year in undergraduate and graduate enrollment as well as in the number of credit hours. Highlights:

  • Total enrollment is 10,851, down 112 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 6,146, down 18 from last year's record.
  • Graduate enrollment is 4,705, down 94 from last year.
  • Credit hours, which represent the number of courses that students are taking, are down 104 from last year's record of 122,916.
  • The number of undergraduates who transferred to St. Thomas this fall is 285, down three from last year.

 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 49 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 report indicates the university continues to make progress on diversifying its student body, one of the goals of its Opening Doors capital campaign. “As its name suggests, Opening Doors will create a pool of scholarship and financial-aid resources for students of diverse backgrounds,” Father Dennis Dease, St. Thomas' president, said in fall 2007.  “This is the greatest goal of the campaign and speaks to our deepest roots."

The percentage of undergraduate students who are persons of color this fall stands at 14.5 percent, up from 12 percent last year and 10.9 percent in 2005. The percentage of graduate students of color is 13.2 percent this fall, up from 11.6 percent last year and 10.8 percent in 2005.

The percentage of students of color among the new freshmen this year is 14.2 percent, up from 12.6 percent in 2008 and 2007, and up from 10 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 290 students from other countries, which is down 11 from last year.

At a time when some colleges and universities are enrolling more women than men, the St. Thomas male-female ratio is almost evenly split: 49.5 for women and 50.5 percent for men. For new freshmen, however, men outnumber the women 56.7 percent to 43.3 percent. In last year's freshman class, men outnumbered women 52 percent to 48 percent.  

Freshmen are coming from a larger number of high schools this year (413 compared to 378 last year) and states (31 compared to 27 last year). Other characteristics of the freshman class are less changed from last year. The average class rank (73) and average G.P.A. (3.5) are unchanged. St. Thomas has slightly more students with perfect high-school averages of 4.0 (130 vs. 127) and their ACT scores are slightly higher, too (25.42 vs. 25.12).

Of those freshman students reporting a religious affiliation, 62 percent reported they are Roman Catholic.  That is the same percentage for all undergraduates and compares to 44 percent for graduate students and 65 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. 

One record set this year is the number of students living on the St. Paul campus. That number, 2,618, is 16 more than the previous record set in 2007.

Another record is the number of seminarians attending the undergraduate St. John Vianney Seminary, which opened here in fall 1968. This year St. John Vianney has 165 seminarians, up from last year's record of 152. The seminarians live in the St. John Vianney building on the main campus and in a university-owned apartment building on Grand Avenue.

Enrollment on the university's St. Paul campus is 7,365, down 95 from last year's 7,460 but up from 7,332 in 2007. 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 (3,104) as from the next closest county, Ramsey (1,409). 

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 2008 Credit hours % Change from 2008
College of Arts and Sciences 175 - 5.4 752 - 0.13
Opus College of Business: business programs 1,588 -6.20 9,459 - 3.61
Opus College of Business: Graduate Programs in Software Engineering 351 -0.28 1,760 - 3.08
School of Divinity 125 -0. 79 1,367 + 11.77
College of Applied Professional Studies: School of Education 1,169 -2 .83 5,877 - 1.36
College of Applied Professional Studies: School of Professional Psychology 221 +11.06 1,461 +14.05
School of Engineering 217 +2.36 945 +13.31
School of Law 464 +1.53 6,772 +.06
School of Social Work 395 +6.18 3,699 + 14.24
Total 4,705 -2.0 32,092 +1.3

 In addition to enrollment numbers, the IR&A Web site has the most up-to-date student characteristic reports that include:

  • All Student Profile - summer and fall 2009.
  • Historical Trends – fall 2009.
  • Majors and Minors – fall 2009.
  • Residence Life (On-Campus Housing) – fall 2009.
  • Retention and Graduation Rates.
  • Undergraduate Student Cohort (FTFY and Transfer) – fall 2009.
  • Veterans Benefits – fall 2009.

These reports can be accessed via the IR&A Website Enrollment Report Resources link.