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Fall 2021 Enrollment indicates growth for East Texas Baptist University

August 26, 2021

East Texas Baptist University celebrates the second-highest recorded student enrollment in the University’s 109-year history with 1,688 total students, and an 84% undergraduate retention rate (2% higher than the five-year average). In addition, the total graduate enrollment exhibits the highest graduate enrollment in University history, up by 13% from last year.

“The enrollment is a result of our labor, and most certainly, an answer to our prayers—a blessing we can attribute to the battle fought through our hands and from our knees in communication with the God who provides and purposes His followers according to His perfect plans,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “When I reflect on our University’s foundation, mission, and core commitments, I am deeply appreciative to serve alongside a University Family who is committed to the fulfillment of God’s vision for our students: both those who are here now and those who will one day call our Hill their home. As we navigate how to best be a light for Christ in the shadowed parts of our world, we must lean into the Truth of God to produce within us a greater trust in Him and His plans for us.”

The first-time freshman enrollment total is 403, which is tied for the third-highest first-time freshman class (with Fall 2020). Four out of the last five years have had a freshman enrollment totaling 400 or more. New transfer student enrollment rises to 116 students, up 10% over last year.

“The new student enrollment for freshmen and transfer students is reflective of the great things that God is doing on our campus,” Vice President for Enrollment Jeremy Johnston said. “We have 403 new freshmen on campus, marking the fourth time in five years that ETBU enrolled over 400 new freshmen in the fall. This semester also marks the largest dual student enrollment in ETBU history, with students enrolled in ETBU classes at Marshall High School, Elysian Fields High School, Waskom High School, and Grace Community School in Tyler. Prospective students are hearing about what is happening at ETBU in the classroom, on the athletics fields and courts, and on campus, and they want to be part of it. This is evident with our overall enrollment and new student enrollment in particular.”

As many individuals face the uncertainty of the job market and pursuing employment during a worldwide pandemic, more students are choosing to extend their studies and pursue graduate degrees. Many of East Texas Baptist’s graduate programs are designed to be completed in 12-18 months, and offer flexible course schedules. Most programs are entirely online, while some are hybrid and meet in the evenings. In 2020, ETBU reduced graduate tuition by 50% and expanded degree programs to serve and meet the increased needs for higher education in the East Texas region. The

University currently offers 14 graduate programs ranging from the Masters in Business Administration to Strategic Communication to Mental Health Counseling. These factors have led to a record number of graduate students seeking additional training at East Texas Baptist.

“ETBU seeks to inspire and impact students through a transformative educational experience,” ETBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “A graduate degree is a more personal and professional step on that journey of education and service. I am thrilled to see our graduate student population continue to grow as we work to strengthen the resources and opportunities available for our growing student body.”