published Monday, July 19th, 2010

Colleges predict record enrollment

Chattanooga State Enrollment

Fall 2009: 9,431

Fall 2004: 8,121

Fall 1999: 8,162

Source: Chattanooga State

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga enrollment

Fall 2009: 10,526

Fall 2004: 8,689

Fall 1999: 8,604

Source: UTC

Chattanooga State and UTC are gearing up for another year of record-breaking fall enrollment, but officials say a swarm of freshmen could exacerbate overcrowding that already exists, especially on UTC’s campus.

Officials are predicting parking problems, housing shortages and bottlenecking in high-demand courses.

“Right now, there is going to be some pressure on those freshman classes,” said University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Roger Brown. “As the summer goes on, it will be harder and harder for students to get their first choices of classes.”

Enrollment numbers at both schools are still shifting as campus recruiting and orientations continue through the summer until classes start at the end of August.

Chattanooga State Community College officials would not release their enrollment figures, but said they are currently up more than 10 percent from last year at this time.

“Numbers are up because the economy is still down,” said Jeff Olingy, a spokesman for Chattanooga State. “People are looking for opportunities to reinvent themselves.”

UTC’s enrollment could reach 10,800 this fall, said Dr. Brown, a 3 percent increase over last fall.

However, officials with both schools said they don’t think new legislation intended to make it easier for students to transfer from two-year to four-year schools has had much, if any, effect on enrollment. The legislation was passed in a special session earlier this year.

The number of transfer students at UTC is flat from last year, records show.

At UTC, enrollment is booming among recent high school graduates looking for a traditional college experience, and demand for on-campus housing is greater than ever.

Like last year, more than 150 UTC student who signed up to live in dorms will be forced to begin their school year in downtown hotels, Dr. Brown said.

The squeeze has become so serious — and expensive — for the college, officials are talking about paying a company to seek out private apartments for rent in the downtown area and placing students in those apartments instead of hotels. But that can’t be arranged until next year, Dr. Brown said.

The security of knowing they will get a steady stream of tenants could convince local landlords into lowering rents for UTC students, he said.

“This has been done at many other campuses,” said Dr. Brown. “A little farther down the road we are going to have to begin building more apartments on campus.”

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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Tax_Payer said...

Not sure why they anticipate on bursting the school at the seams. Booth of them have limited parking, housing, and services for students not available. Makes no sense on trying to increase enrollment each year when facilities are not added to care for such.

July 19, 2010 at 5:41 a.m.
chaselock said...

I completely agree with this user, I am a student at UTC and I do not buy a praking pass because it is so ridiculous! You cannot find a parking spot anywhere!! Also I know many of my friends were forced to live in the chattanoogan Hotel and all had unplessant experiences with the staff and UTC housing. I think it is ignorant to require all Freshman to live on campus if you do not have enough room for all incoming freshman. I hope that they find a better solution, but I am just thankful that I am not caught up in this mess!

July 19, 2010 at 2:07 p.m.
parkerz said...

Tax_payer: Both colleges are open enrollment schools, I don't think they can cap enrollment. And they are not trying to increase enrollment, but historically, enrollment goes up when the economy is bad.

Chaselock: Parking is always a problem, has been for many years. There are plenty of parking spaces at 7:30 in the morning. Start your day earlier. Ride a bus, take a bike.
I agree that requiring all freshmen to live on campus, and then not having available housing 'on campus' is very shortsighted and simply dumb.

July 19, 2010 at 4:46 p.m.
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