Grad enrollment numbers down, undergrad up

Tech’s undergraduate enrollment increased in size while the graduate enrollment decreased by 323 students this semester.
According to the Fall 2012 Preliminary Report, the new graduate enrollment is 269 students compared to Fall 2011’s 592 students.  
Francis Otuonye, associate vice president for research, graduate studies, said one reason enrollment is down is because of a lack of resources and advertisement about what Tech offers graduate students.  Other problems include a lack of scholarships and cutbacks with the federal government.
“We would like to look at some of the programs that are offered and consider offering them online,” Otuonye said.  “When you offer them online, then you are able to attract people who have jobs and are not able to come to campus to take classes.  I think if we do this, it will help with enrollment.”
Otuonye said the K-12 teacher preparation resulted in less students enrolling in the College of Education.  According to the report, the College of Education gained 103 new graduates this semester, which is the majority of graduate enrollment for the semester.
The Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 changed the funding formula for colleges and universities in the state.  Institutions are now funded based on the number of degrees awarded instead of enrollment numbers. Less is emphasized this year on the recruitment and enrollment of non-degree graduate students.
Otuonye said the non-degree graduate student enrollment decreased approximately 42 percent from last year.
“The federal government eliminated Federal Subsidized Loans for graduate students,” Otuonye said.  “Because of that elimination, it’s not possible to enroll as many students as we would have.”
Carrie Brown, current graduate student, said there are problems with the campus’ program, including availability with classes and class times.
“One problem with the program is the courses,” Brown said. “I’m taking the same courses that I could have taken as an undergrad, except now I’m paying more for the classes.”
Brown said other problems include not having enough financial aid support, lack of funding in the program and general guidance and encouragement with her program.
“I have seen these freshmen come in, and they get all these bells and whistles and all these incentives to stay in school,” Brown said.  “I don’t see that kind of support as you get past those first few semesters.  Even though we have great advisers and teachers, maybe having some kind of support in place would be helpful.”