UNC Charlotte breaks records for first-year, graduate and international student enrollments

UNC Charlotte breaks records for first-year, graduate and international student enrollments
Tuesday, September 12, 2023

This fall, UNC Charlotte welcomed to campus its largest-ever class of first-time college students. In combination with new highs for graduate and international students, and along with those transferring from other institutions, they pushed Charlotte's total enrollment to 30,298. With this achievement, second only to the University's record-breaking enrollment in fall 2021, UNC Charlotte's undergraduate student enrollment continues as the second-highest for the UNC System’s 17-member institutions — and defies a trend toward declining enrollments underway in several regions of the country.

“Students are choosing UNC Charlotte for high-quality academics and research opportunities, the co-curricular and extracurricular options available to them — and much more,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “Charlotte is designated by U.S. News & World Report as the best city in North Carolina for young professionals and is ranked in the nation’s top 10. Through the University’s deep connections to Charlotte’s innovative tech, health care and financial industries as well as its vibrant cultural scene, students can envision themselves thriving here during and after college. UNC Charlotte is truly Charlotte’s great university.” 

First-Year Class: Smart and Diverse

start of fall semesterThe composition of the new first-year class — whose numbers reach 4,501 — reflects Charlotte’s ascending academic excellence and the region’s growing diversity. With their arrival, first-time college students complete a total undergraduate population that identifies as 17% Black, 14.8% Hispanic and 5% multiracial. More than 9.7% of undergraduates identify as Asian American, a new high for Charlotte. Additional facts about first-year Niners: 

Academically Ambitious

  • Average weighted high school GPA = 3.98, exceeding that of last year’s class.
  • Awarded more than $1.8 million in scholarships (to first-year students) for the academic year, rising 40% over last year as annual scholarships for all students increased to $7.1 million. 
  • 40% are pursuing science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) majors.
  • 175 students were admitted to the University Honors Program; a jump of 19.4% over last year.
  • Culturally Diverse
  • 39% identify as an underrepresented minority, up from 37% in 2022.
  • 33% are first-generation college students.
  • 89% are North Carolinians — from 86 of the state’s counties, with 20% from Wake County and 15% from Mecklenburg County.
  • 11% come from 37 other U.S. states and 31 other countries. 

New Heights for Transfer, Graduate and International Students

start of fall semesterNew transfer students continue to choose Charlotte to complete their undergraduate degrees. This is attributable in part to the University’s intentional and comprehensive system of support that is designed to meet the unique needs of this population. Graduate programs continue to attract new students from the U.S. and across the globe due to strength of programming, meaningful research opportunities and relevant industry partnerships. Here’s how these groups shape up:

Transfer Success

  • 2,348 students – the highest in the UNC System – transferred to UNC Charlotte from other institutions, a 4.4% rise over last year.
  • 76 arrived through 49erNext — a growing co-admission program with six community college partners that offers a proactive approach to academic advising. Ninety-three percent of participating students were admitted into their preferred major, with an average GPA of 3.65. (Approximately 175 community college students joined 49erNext this fall, confirming their pathway to Charlotte.)
  • New transfer students come from 75 North Carolina counties, and 46 of the state’s 58 community colleges.

Graduate Energy

Global Campus

  • 160 new first-year and transfer international students — a 14% increase — are from 57 different countries.
  • The combined number of new and returning international undergraduate and graduate students — from a total of 108 countries — is 20% higher this fall over last, making it this group’s largest to date.

“It is gratifying to welcome so many new, deserving students to Niner Nation; we look forward to the great things they’ll achieve and contribute to our community,” said Claire Kirby, associate provost for enrollment management. “To see how UNC Charlotte students mirror the cultural vibrancy of our campus community and that of our city is especially powerful. They certainly possess the talent, ability and desire to transform their lives and shape the future at Charlotte.”

The Graduate School is equally excited about the University's master's and doctoral students. 

“With UNC Charlotte's strategic plan guiding our efforts to become a top-tier research university, the Graduate School is excited to welcome an exemplary class of graduate students from around the globe,” said Pinku Mukherjee, interim associate provost and dean of the Graduate School.

The school is also ready to help guide them to success. 

“The class of graduate scholars is our most diverse yet — a true testament to the graduate faculty, program directors, staff and graduate education advocates who work to build an inclusive community at Charlotte,” added Johnna Watson, associate dean of graduate enrollment management and funding. “We are ready to provide engaged support to our students and look forward to championing their great achievements.”

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