UT Austin enrolled almost 300 more students of color in its freshman class this semester than in fall of 2019, UT President Jay Hartzell said.
The freshman class is also one of UT's largest, with 8,459 students. It's "well above the average class size during the past decade of 7,900 students," the university said in a press release.
The general student body at UT this semester includes 5% Black students, 23% Hispanic students, 37% white students and 23% Asian students.
The numbers of Black, Hispanic and Asian students all went up, while white student enrollment slightly decreased.
“I think it speaks to the power of higher education even in a pandemic,” said Hartzell, who was officially named president Wednesday.
The percentage of Black undergraduate and graduate students increased by 0.4% since last fall to a record 5.3%, while the overall percentage of Hispanic students went from 21.7% to 23.4% — also a record high, the university said.
UT Austin said undergraduate Hispanic enrollment reached 26.1%, qualifying the university for consideration as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
UT also saw its largest graduation rate ever, with 72% of students completing their undergraduate degree in four years. That rate is calculated through the summer semester.
Hartzell said the increase in students graduating contributes to the larger freshman class.
“Because graduation rates are up, we have more spots we can offer to freshmen,” he said.
The hybrid class schedule, with many students doing classes online this year, means retention could be harder this year, however.
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