“That’s unprecedented. We know that cannot continue forever, but we’re glad that it continued one more year,” Phil Cook, vice president for enrollment , said.
“Our enrollment for the fall is 4,954,” Cook said.
This is compared to 4,411 last year.
“Our freshman class is the second largest freshman class that we have ever had at Lee — 853 freshman registered this fall,” Cook said.
The only class larger was last year’s freshman class of 875. Seventy-three percent of these freshman returned to Lee for their sophomore year, according to Cook.
This year’s freshman class also has the highest average ACT score of any freshman class at Lee.
“Five years in a row we’ve seen an increase in our entrance ACT scores,” Cook said.
Incoming transfer students have also contributed to the numbers. There were 236 incoming transfer students.
“We are the third largest private institution in Tennessee. We are the largest private Christ-centered university in this region,” Cook said.
This year the university is including online students in its official enrollment numbers for the first time.
Cook said there are more than 500 students enrolled in the new Division for Adult Learning Department.
“Adding the online students this year puts us at a significant increase, but the increase is not really that much as far as on campus,” Cook said.
However, there is an increase in on-campus students as well.
Cook said most institutions of higher learning include online students in there enrollment numbers.
“The reason we decided to do it this year is because we have this brand new program,” Cook said.
Effective and consistent leadership under university president Dr. Paul Conn has been a factor to Lee’s continued growth, he said.
“A 26-year presidency at any institution is unprecedented. To have it at a private Christ-centered campus is remarkable,” Cook said.
Cook also said he believes “God blesses our work. That’s not to say he doesn’t bless other places, (but) the Lord has been good to us.”
The university’s affordability is another component of ever increasing enrollment numbers.
Council for Christian Colleges and Universities has listed Lee University as the fifth largest university in their organization, but the second least expensive.
Cook said faculty and the “beautiful campus” also contribute to students choosing and returning to Lee.