Preliminary numbers released by The University of Texas at Austin indicate that the university has its largest-ever freshman class this fall, with 8,092 first-time students, an increase of 13.2 percent from last fall.
In addition, total enrollment at the university for the 2012 fall semester increased to 52,213 students, an increase of 2.2 percent and the university’s second largest enrollment. The largest was 52,261 in fall 2002.
“The university’s reputation as a place for a first-class education continues to grow, and that high academic standing is reflected in the growth in enrollment,” said Vice Provost and Director of Admissions Kedra Ishop. “We’ve seen an increase in application numbers and in acceptance rates of our offers a trend that we can expect to continue.”
The preliminary figures are based on the enrollment on the 12th day of class and are subject to change. Final figures will be released in October, said Kristi D. Fisher, associate vice provost and director of the Office of Information Management and Analysis.
To accommodate the increase in first-time students, the university has added additional advisers, orientation sessions and other resources, said David Laude, newly appointed senior vice provost for enrollment and graduation management. A team in the Provost’s Office has been tasked with identifying course needs, including lab capacity, to make sure that seats are available in required core courses.
“We’ve known for a few months now that the size of this class was going to present some special challenges,” said Laude, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “This class is large because many of our efforts to recruit the best and brightest paid off. We’re now working to ensure this class has what it needs to be successful and refining our planning models so we can better anticipate enrollment next year.”
Other key trends in the report include:
- The number of underrepresented minorities increased slightly. Hispanics account for 18.4 percent of students, up from 17.6 percent. Although black students’ enrollment grew by 61 students, their proportional representation remained flat at 4.5 percent. The percentage of enrolled students who are Asian increased to 15.2 percent, up from 15.1 percent, continuing the trend of the past several years. White student enrollment was 49.8 percent (excluding international students), down from 51 percent .
- For first-time freshmen, the number of students enrolled increased over fall 2011 for all ethnic and racial groups except Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Only. The proportional representation for Hispanic students for fall 2012 is 23.6 percent; this is an increase of 2.6 percent over last fall and is the largest increase of all the minority ethnic/racial groups. White student enrollment for first-time freshman was 45.5 percent (excluding international students), a decrease of 2.5 percent from fall 2011.
- The four-year graduation rates increased to 52.2 percent from 50.9 percent last year; five-year graduation rates increased to 75 percent from 74.2 percent; six-year graduation rates decreased to 78.7 percent from 80.8 percent.
- Seventy-four percent of the enrolled freshmen who came from Texas high schools were admitted under Senate Bill 175 (the modified Top 10 Percent Law). Sixty-seven percent of all first-time freshmen (both in-state and out-of-state) were automatically admitted under SB 175.
- The average composite ACT score for the entering freshmen was 28, and the average SAT composite score was 1842.
- At least 24 percent of all first-time freshmen were first-generation matriculates.
There are 39,977 undergraduates, 11,128 graduate students and 1,108 law students enrolled.
 The university changed its method of reporting race and ethnicity with the 2010 reporting cycle to conform to the format adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Reporting changes include the introduction of two new race-reporting categories, “Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander” and “Two or More.” Students identifying themselves in more than one category with one being Hispanic are reported in the “Hispanic” category only, in accordance with federal guidelines.
Students identifying themselves as black, or in more than one category with one being black (and not Hispanic), are reported in the “total black” category. All other students identifying themselves in more than one category (neither Hispanic nor black) are reported in the “Two or More” category.