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This item originally appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

By JORDAN MARSHALL

News Editor

Enrollment has decreased 2.2 percent, while the graduate school enrollment is at a record high.

According to the Sept. 27 numbers, enrollment has gone from 11,975 to 11,710, and the graduate school enrollment is at 2,379, up from last year's 2,227.

"I expected [enrollment] to be down this year after last year's increase of 700 students," Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau said. "But we are still ahead. We have a solid class and better prepared students."

Reneau said he does not think the decrease is bad.

"I expect enrollment to drop more because [Tech] is at another level of selectivity," Reneau said. "We are on the road to make this a finer institution."

Pamela Ford, dean of enrollment management, said there are many reasons why enrollment has gone down, such as the Barksdale Air Force Base deployment this year, and Tech's admission standards have increased.

"Our number one goal is quality of a student over quantity," Ford said.

Ford also said Tech received 3,897 applications this year and accepted 86 percent. She said last year Tech received 3,768 applications and accepted 92 percent.

Although fall enrollment has declined, the average ACT score has improved from 22.2 to 22.5.

"It takes a lot to move the average score up even a tenth of a point, so this is a huge improvement," Ford said.

Dr. Terry McConathy, executive vice president and dean of Graduate School, said she thinks part of the reason for the increase of the Graduate School is due to the economy.

"It is a trend when the economy is weakening enrollment goes up in graduate schools," she said. "Jobs are raising the bar."

McConathy said the rise in enrollment may be due to the different degree programs Tech offers.

McConathy also said she thinks the increase has to do with the new interdisciplinary Master of Science in molecular sciences and nanotechnology in the College of Applied and Natural Sciences. She said it also has to do with the microsystems engineering in the College of Engineering and Science.

"Unique undergraduate programs traditionally feed into graduate programs, and we have the faculty, students and facilities for these programs," McConathy said.

Christopher Dwyer, a sophomore chemical engineering major, said he came to Tech for the engineering program, and he said he likes attending a university where there are more qualified students.

"You want enough students here to make it a good university, but you don't want the standards to be so high that the university loses money."


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