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ETBU celebrates enrollment growth as the Fall 2023 semester begins

August 29, 2023

East Texas Baptist University celebrates record enrollment in Fall 2023 with 1,833 students, the highest total in the institution's 111-year history. Total enrollment increased 3.5% over Fall 2022, and the University’s total enrollment has exceeded 1,700 students in three of the last four fall terms.

Fall 2023 marks the highest total undergraduate enrollment for the institution, recording 1,659 students, and full-time undergraduate degree-seeking enrollment and Adult Education enrollment rose by 1.5% and 33%, respectively, since Fall 2022.

“We are so very thankful for God’s provision through the earnest commitment of our staff and faculty and the generous support of donor partners, resulting in the blessings of students called to study and experience the Christ-centered education at ETBU,” President J. Blair Blackburn said. “Our mission is to educate, equip, and empower students to walk faithfully as Christian servant leaders.”

The University boasts its highest undergraduate retention rate of 86%, 2% above the five-year average, and the freshman cohort retention rate is 69%, matching the highest recorded mark in 1999. The institution's academic programs and student life activities contribute to the holistic development of all students. Through Christian scholarship, ministries, missions, chapel, worship, Bible studies, discipleship, and prayer, the University’s goal is for students to encounter the Lord and discover His plan for their future.

“Our mission is to prepare graduates to be Christian servant leaders in their calling to God and humanity,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Thomas Sanders said. “An essential part of accomplishing this mission is creating a curricular and co-curricular environment where students remain engaged in order to develop their gifts, knowledge, and skills. These record-setting retention rates are the result of strategic partnerships and commitments from our faculty and staff. I am so proud to serve with them.”

East Texas Baptist is committed to ensuring that once students are on the Hill, they have the support they need to be successful. The University has made significant investments in student success initiatives over the years. Created to support students as they navigate college life, ETBU’s Office of Academic Success assists students with choosing a degree or securing accommodations for physical or learning needs. ETBU’s Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) Tutoring Lab provides free tutoring resources to students for all of the University’s general education and major-specific gateway courses. ACE Tutors work closely with faculty members to provide Supplemental Instruction and large group test preparation sessions in an effort to create strong study habits in ETBU’s undergraduate population.

Enrollment is not the only milestone ETBU is celebrating. With University-wide growth, students will now be able to utilize several brand-new facilities across campus built to support future generations of Tiger scholars. Students, faculty, and staff are utilizing the Great Commission Center, which opened in April of this year, as the new home to the Fred Hale School of Business, Career Development Office, and Great Commission program. ETBU recently completed Billy and Winky Foote Hall at Tiger Yard, a multi-purpose facility that houses apartment-style student residences, the ETBU Baseball Clubhouse, and the Blue Bengal Grocery Company, a micro-market grocery store that provides a vast array of foods, snack items, beverages, household essentials, and branded merchandise for students, faculty, and staff.

“We are so thankful for the collaborative efforts of our staff and faculty, who work together to provide students the opportunity to pursue their calling,” Vice President for Enrollment Dr. Jeremy Johnston said. “Our strong academic offerings and vibrant student life make ETBU a great place to call home for students looking for a Christ-centered education."