Undergrad Enrollment Down a Bit, Grad Enrollment Up a Bit

After six years of slight declines, overall enrollment at the University of St. Thomas held steady this year. The university has 10,229 students this year; that’s up eight students, or 0.1 percent, from last year.

In recent years St. Thomas has seen small enrollment gains at the undergraduate level but small decreases at the graduate level. That flip-flopped this year, with graduate-level gains reported in five of the university’s seven academic divisions.

Some of the undergraduate decline can be attributed to the graduation of the class of 2014 this past spring; when the 1,519 members of that class arrived on campus in fall 2010, it was by far the largest group of freshmen in St. Thomas history. This year’s freshman class of 1,409, meanwhile, is the third-largest. The second-largest freshman class, at 1,447, arrived here in 2012.

  • Undergraduate enrollment is 6,234, down 1.8 percent or 116 students from last year’s record-high 6,350
  • Graduate enrollment is 3,995, up 3.2 percent or 124 students from last year’s 3,871

The university’s enrollment has been more than 10,000 for the past 23 years, with a peak of 11,570 in 2001.

With a 15.7 percent increase in enrollment, the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling now has St. Thomas’ largest graduate enrollment, ahead of the Opus College of Business. Also posting strong increases at the graduate level were the School of Social Work, which recently launched a new doctoral program and had a 7.3 percent enrollment increase, and the School of Engineering, which grew by 6.6 percent.

According to statistics compiled by the St. Thomas Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the total of undergraduate and graduate credit hours, which represent the number of courses that students are taking, is 121,294.5, a drop of 1.3 percent. Undergraduates at St. Thomas comprise 61 percent of all students but account for 77 percent of credit hours. Overall, 70 percent are full-time students and 30 percent are part-time.

At a time when some colleges and universities are enrolling more women than men, the St. Thomas female-male ratio continues to show a near-even split. The percentage of students who are women is:

  • 48.7 overall
  • 45.8 for undergraduates
  • 46.9 for new freshmen
  • 53.4 for graduate students

The percentage of students who are persons of color has increased steadily over the years and this fall stands at 15.5 percent, up from 14.8 percent last year. The percentage of students of color is:

  • 12.1 for freshmen, down from last year’s 12.4
  • 14.4 for undergraduates, up from last year’s 13.9
  • 17.4 for graduate students, up from last year’s 16.4

These percentages would be higher if international students 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 welcomed 489 international students (205 undergrads and 284 graduate students) from 65 countries, which is up 53 students from last year and the highest since 2003.

By number of international students, the top countries are: Saudi Arabia, China, India, Uganda and, in a tie for fifth, Norway and Nepal.

Here are the enrollment numbers for students of color:

  • 404 Asian (211 undergrad and 193 graduate)
  • 384 Hispanic (287 undergrad and 97 graduate)
  • 372 Black or African-American (147 undergrad and 225 graduate)
  • 289 who list two or more races (200 undergrad and 89 graduate)
  • 15 American Indian (8 undergrad and 7 graduate)
  • 4 Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (all graduate)

In addition to St. Thomas enrolling larger freshman classes in recent years, students also are arriving with stronger academic profiles. Twenty-eight new Tommies are valedictorians of their high school classes, the same as last year, while eight are National Merit Scholars, up two from last year. Some other characteristics:

  • Their average ACT score was 26.3, the highest-ever for a freshman class here (25.6 last year)
  • Their average class rank was in the 76th percentile (73rd last year)
  • 203 had 4.0 or better grade-point averages (159 last year)
  • Their average grade-point average was also a record high, 3.59 (3.54 last year)

The percentage of St. Thomas students who indicated they are Roman Catholic did not change this year. Overall, 42 percent are Catholic; at the undergraduate level it is 47.7 percent and at the graduate level it is 31.2 percent. Overall, 75 percent of the students report some religious affiliation, a percentage that has remained fairly constant over the past five years.

There are 233 undergraduate and graduate seminarians here this fall. Enrollment at the undergraduate-level St. John Vianney Seminary is 137, which is up five from last year and includes 12 men studying in Rome this semester. The graduate-level Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity has 96 men studying for the priesthood, down 10 from a year ago.

The number of undergraduates who transferred to St. Thomas this fall is 251, down 20 from last year and 24 from fall 2012.

Enrollment on the university's St. Paul campus is 7,463, down 72 from last year. St. Thomas is limited to 8,750 students on its main campus under a Conditional Use Permit approved by the St. Paul City Council in 2004. The highest enrollment in St. Paul was 8,712 in 1991, the year before the university opened its Minneapolis campus.

For undergraduates this fall, commuter students outnumber resident students 3,669 to 2,536. A year ago, there were 3,875 undergraduate commuters and 2,446 residents.

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 2013 Credit hours % Change from 2013
College of Arts and Sciences 118 +2.6 532 +6.6
Opus College of Business 1,037 -9.4 6,498 -7.2
School of Divinity 128 -7.9 1,502 -8.6
College of Education, Leadership & Counseling 1,262 +15.7 6,824 +11.2
School of Engineering 648 +6.6 3,226 +8.9
School of Law 407 +0.5 5,754.5 -1.0
School of Social Work 395 +7.3 3,992 +10.1
Total 3,995 +3.2 28,328 +2.3