By Logan Garrett, Editor-In-Chief
Before the UTC football team took the field on Aug. 30, a seemingly endless horde of freshmen ran through the tunnel, illuminating just how large the largest freshman class in UTC history is.
The Class of 2022 boasts an estimated 2,232 students, which is around 100 more than the previous fall semester. The new freshman class also features students from 34 different countries.
“This demonstrates that UTC is great first choice for students across the state and across the region,” Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management and Student Success. “For students and families that want a four-year experience, UTC is a really great choice, and our numbers show that.”
This slight growth in the freshman population could largely be due to the wide variety of housing options on and around campus.
Of the 2,250 students within the freshman class, a record-high 1,800 of them are utilizing on-campus housing, particularly the recently finished West Campus Housing Complex. West Campus houses only three upperclassmen other than the resident assistants, according to Carling Wilson, Assistant Director for Occupancy Management.
“All of our occupancy numbers for both freshmen and transfer students are at record-highs,” Wilson said.
Overall, the residence halls on campus are 96 percent occupied, she says. An astounding 52% of that total are first-year students, despite certain housing complexes, such as Walker, being reserved for upperclassmen only.
Other than West Campus, a majority of freshmen inhabit Johnson O’Bear Apartments as well as Guerry/Decosimo.
The student population at UTC, unlike many peer institutions, has been steadily increasing despite an uptick in participation in the Tennessee Promise program, which provides two free years of community college or technical school to Tennessee residents.
According to the TN Promise website, enrollment in the program has grown by almost 1,000 students in the past three years.
Other than the innumerable offerings by the university, the city of Chattanooga offers many opportunities for students and is a possible reason for UTC’s population rise.
“Chattanooga is a wonderful, friendly community with so much to offer,” UTC Chancellor Dr. Steven Angle said. “If you want to do an internship at a company like River City Company that’s helping redevelopment in our community, or Unum, Blue Cross Blue Shield, EPB, TVA are all huge companies employing thousands of people.”
“All of this is within 5 minutes of our campus,” Angle continued. “We have such a wide variety of experiences in a community that’s a wonderful place to live.”
This story is a correction to a prior story the Echo published in our Sept. 5 print edition about the Class of 2022. The previous story included a typo in the headline and story which referred to the current freshman class as the “Class of 2020”.