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Despite the challenges and uncertainty brought by a world-wide pandemic, TCU continues to attract talented students. The official Horned Frog fall 2020 headcount stands at 11,379 — a total gain of 355 students for a 3.2% increase over 2019.

Horned Frogs seeking bachelor’s degrees total 9,655 for fall 2020 compared with 9,390 last year, a gain of 265 students for a 2.8% increase. The number of students seeking graduate degrees climbed 9.9% year over year — 1,635 versus 1,488 last year.

“I’m extremely proud of our dedicated faculty and hard-working staff – not only our outstanding admissions team but all departments across campus,” Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr., said. “Attracting and retaining such highly qualified students during an unprecedented year with unforeseen challenges, speaks to the highly strategic efforts made to connect with our students virtually, TCU’s academic reputation and the unrivaled TCU experience.”

The freshman retention rate is 91.7%, up slightly from 2019’s 91.3%. The retention rate among transfer students is 83.6% compared with 82.7% last year. 

“Ongoing personal connections made by campus leaders, admissions counselors and faculty with students during the early stages of the pandemic and throughout the summer clearly made a positive impact on our new class and retention of current students,” Heath Einstein, dean of Admission, said.

Watch a thank you video from TCU Admission to faculty and staff.

TCU’s fall 2020 enrollment numbers were 2% shy of hitting the original budget target, which was set prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The 12th day of class is when official enrollment numbers are recorded each semester.

“Considering the concerns we were hearing from peers across the country of 20% declines in enrollment — or worse — we are proud that TCU continues to prioritize our culture of connection.  It’s this culture that drives us to support each other and create a community that people want to be a part of,” Boschini said. 

TCU’s culture of connection was strengthened even further during the spring and summer months and continues this fall through the dedicated work of Student Affairs.

“The Student Affairs team played a key role in connecting with our returning students and families,” Boschini continued. “They are offering new traditions, supporting our students’ well-being and ensuring that our students can connect with each other safely.”

Undergraduate and Graduate Growth

The Neeley School of Business added 85 students for a total of 2,542, up 3.5%. The College of Science & Engineering added 79 students for a total of 1,937, a 4.3% gain. Enrollment in the College of Fine Arts grew by 65 students to 894, up 7.8%. The Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences added 37 students for a total of 1,305, a 2.9% increase, and the College of Education’s 330 total student count was up by 19 students, a 6.1% jump.

Graduate enrollment is up 11.9% in the Neeley School (from 362 to 405 students), 11.4% in the Harris College (351 to 391 students), 5.3% in the College of Education (243 to 256 students) and 1.2% in the College of Fine Arts (81 to 82 students). Welcoming its second class of incoming students, the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine increased from 60 to 119 students.   

TCU’s strategic vision for enrollment management

TCU is dedicated to enrolling an academically-talented, diverse student body and making TCU more affordable to students and families in today’s ever-changing higher education landscape – while maintaining responsible enrollment growth for the future. Over the last five years, TCU has provided an average of nearly $137 million in financial aid to students per year. The university plans to increase financial aid by $65 million annually to better support students, compete with universities across the country and increase both the academic profile and diversity of incoming students.

Looking to Fall 2021 and Making Standardized Tests Optional

Due to COVID-19 and the suspension of SAT and ACT testing, TCU Admissions was a leader among U.S. colleges and universities when it announced in April that the university would suspend the requirement of standardized tests for students expected to enter college in Fall 2021.

“We understand the uncertainties high school students are currently facing and want to do what we can to reduce some of the anxiety,” Einstein, said. “TCU has never relied solely on one factor in admission decisions; we have always believed that while standardized tests provide some useful information, there is more to a student’s record that indicates how they would contribute in and out of the classroom at TCU. The qualities that matter most to us – personal character and the ability to meaningfully engage with the community – can’t be found by looking at a test score.”

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