Tarleton Anticipates Record Fall Enrollment Despite Pandemic

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STEPHENVILLE — The hit to fall 2020 enrollment that some predicted may not happen at Tarleton State University. An unofficial tally, with two days before final numbers are in, shows the university up 5 percent from a year ago for a record enrollment topping 14,000.

The incoming freshman class also promises to be the largest ever, beating the previous high of 2,163 students in 2016 by nearly 5 percent and last year’s class size by nearly 10 percent.

More records: If the numbers hold, Tarleton will boast more than 5,000 students who report an ethnicity other than white — up 6 percent over 2019 and 70 percent over 2014. Of that number, more than 3,000 are Hispanic, bringing the university closer to its goal of official recognition as an Hispanic-serving institution.

And for the first time, enrollment in graduate programs is expected to exceed 2,000 — an almost 16 percent jump from last fall. Undergraduate numbers are up almost 4 percent.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has cast clouds of uncertainty over colleges around the country, it’s a bright day at Tarleton,” said university President James Hurley. “During these most uncertain times, faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to ensure that our students feel connected, engaged and valued.”

While students completed spring and summer semesters online, Tarleton faculty and staff worked to prepare university locations for a safe fall opening, with classes starting this Thursday. Instruction will take place in three formats — face-to-face in classroom, remote synchronous and asynchronous classes, and online — providing greater choice to manage coursework.

Tarleton will practice physical distancing, require face coverings and continue increased sanitation and deep cleaning of facilities throughout the semester.

“We’ve taken the precautions that will make fall 2020 an outstanding semester while ensuring the safety and well-being of our students,” Hurley said. “It looks different. It feels different. Still, it is Tarleton, a community defined by determination, passion and an unwavering commitment to student success.”


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