News + Events

Exploding FHU Enrollment Continues to Buck Trends

Henderson, TN - Sep 03, 2021

Freed-Hardeman University is again celebrating a record breaking fall enrollment. For the third consecutive year, FHU has broken previous records. This year’s total enrollment of 2,320, a 6% increase over last fall’s figure, is the highest in school history.

FHU’s continued growth diverges sharply from other schools across the country. Enrollment in private and public four-year institutions declined by 4.5% and 2.8%, respectively, in 2020-21, according to College Board. Bloomberg reported college enrollment in the United States hit a two-decade low in 2020. 

In contrast, undergraduate enrollment at FHU jumped 4% for a record 1,797, including the greatest number of first-time freshmen in 11 years. The full-time equivalent of 1,630 is also a  record. 

The Fall 2021 enrollment also packed residence halls, with 1,206 students living on campus, the most ever. Housing availability has been pushed to the max, university officials say. Plans are in place to restore and again use Paul Gray Hall, a historic men’s dormitory that has been empty since being replaced by new construction. 

Graduate enrollment increased this year with a total of 523 students enrolled, the highest total in 11 years. Two doctoral programs, Doctor of Education and Doctor of Behavioral Health, set enrollment records. 

Fall-to-fall retention rates also set record highs, 85% for first-time freshmen and 87% for all students. The five-year graduation rate stands at 69%, also a record. 

“I am, first of all, grateful to God for the increased number of students and their families who  value the excellent Christian education offered by Freed-Hardeman,” FHU President David R. Shannon said. “I also appreciate the tireless efforts of our recruiting staff in telling the FHU story and the faculty and staff who provide exceptional academics in a supportive environment, along with vibrant campus life. Enrollment growth is the result of strong recruitment and a campus experience that makes students eager to return.” 

In addition to the planned restoration of Paul Gray Hall, FHU has set in motion plans to renovate and expand the dining hall. The building will house the dining hall, Lion’s Pride marketplace, student services, mail room, bookstore and ATPI Center for Digital Innovation. ATPI will house four programs: robotics, artificial intelligence, computer engineering and cybersecurity. The expansion and renovation are being funded by the generosity of alumni John  W. and Rosemary Kopel Brown.  

“Our students are experiencing a high degree of success in and out of the classroom, and we have a unique campus atmosphere that is in demand,” Dave Clouse, vice president for community engagement, said. “I believe that is why we continue to see record growth each  year.”