UT Steps Up Minority Recruiting (310)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– Scholarships, honors programs and campus visits are attracting more African-American students to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Gordon Stanley, admissions director, said Monday UT-Knoxville’s freshman African-American enrollment is up about 20 percent this year. Of the 25,039 students on campus, 1,288 are African-Americans.

 “We have to get minority students to visit the campus. Then, they have to see a supportive, caring, welcoming place,” Stanley said. “If those things happen, we have a good chance of enrolling them as first-year students.”

 Extra scholarship dollars help too, he said.

 African-American students with at least a 3.4 high school grade average and 23 or above on the ACT college entrance test automatically qualify for a scholarship equal to in-state tuition, currently valued at $2,576. The scholarship is renewable for three additional years.

 Seventy students accepted the grants last fall, bringing to 125 the total number of scholarship recipients on campus. The program began three years ago.

 “The African-American Achievers Scholarship has made a big difference. Plus, we have seen a halo effect — friends following friends to our campus and enrolling,” Stanley said.

 In the fall and spring, the admissions office sponsors bus trips for African-American students from West Tennessee who have applied for admission to UT-Knoxville. While on campus, the students meet with faculty, stay in a residence hall, and have a chance to see “what the campus is really like,” Stanley said.

 Similar on-campus visits are available to students in Chattanooga and the Tri-Cities. A minority transfer student day is held in the spring.

 UT’s honors programs are an asset to attracting top African-American students, admissions surveys show. An honors day program in December attracted more than 700 prospective students, far more than officials expected, Stanley said.

 “The minority representation at Honors Day was good. If we can get students to visit, we have an excellent chance of getting them to enroll.”

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 Contact: Gordon Stanley (423-974-2184)