Though recent national and state reports have signaled a slight decline in public and private university undergraduate enrollments (declines of 2.5 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively), Virginia Tech’s undergraduate enrollment stood at 30,016 as of Fall Census 2020 (Sept. 21), up from 29,300, or a 2.4 percent increase, from a year ago.

Virginia Tech’s total enrollment — including undergraduate, graduate and professional students — now stands at 37,010, up from 36,383 (an increase of 1.7 percent) recorded on Fall Census 2019.

At Fall Census 2020, enrollment in Virginia Tech’s Graduate School stood at 6,332 doctoral degree, master’s degree, certificate, and nondegree students, compared to 6,414 a year ago.

“Despite the challenges that have come with a global pandemic, we continue to see students from across the commonwealth and the nation who are attracted to our strong academic programs and the opportunities we have created for engaged and experiential learning,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Cyril Clarke. “Our faculty are deeply committed to providing a world-class learning environment, which further enhances our recruitment and retention efforts.”

Virginia Tech’s comprehensive strategies for growth in underserved and underrepresented (URM/USS) populations continue to be effective. The university currently enrolls 10,019 URM/USS undergraduate students, up from 9,417, an increase of 6.4 percent, from a year ago. Currently, 35.4 percent of the current domestic undergraduate enrollment are underserved and underrepresented populations, up from 34.5 percent at Fall Census 2019.

A major contributing factor to the growth of underserved and underrepresented students at Virginia Tech was the university’s most diverse entering class of freshman and transfer students in its history.

Born from almost 34,000 applications, Virginia Tech has welcomed an entering class of 7,790 — 6,574 freshman and 1,216 transfer students — this fall. The freshman class represents 46 different states and 30 different countries; the transfer class represents 26 different states and 14 different countries. Within the freshman class, 4,729 students (or 71.9 percent) hailed from Virginia; 1,023 (or 84.1 percent) of the transfer class call the commonwealth home.

This year, the total number of African American freshman students was 526 (or 8 percent of the class), compared to 313 African American students in the freshman class (or 4.6 percent of the class) in 2017, the last class admitted before significant changes were implemented in the admissions process at Virginia Tech. This represents a 68 percent increase in the number of African American students since 2017, a historic mark for the institution in both actual numbers and proportion.

Similarly, the total number of Hispanic/Latino freshman students in this year’s freshman class was 684 students (or 10.4 percent of the class), compared to 418 Hispanic/Latino students in the freshman class (or 6 percent of the class) in 2017. This represents a 63 percent increase in the number of Hispanic students since 2017, again, a historic mark for the institution in both actual numbers and proportion.

“Beginning in 2017, we’ve implemented several changes in our admissions process that focused on student access,” said Juan Espinoza, associate vice provost for enrollment management and director of admissions. “These changes are proving to be successful in support of broader university goals to have an increasingly diverse student body.”

To further illustrate the increasingly diverse nature of the Virginia Tech student body, 39 percent of the entering class (freshman and transfer students) was from underserved and underrepresented populations in 2020, compared to 31 percent in 2017. In 2020, 1,511 students (or 19.4 percent) in the entering class were first-generation status, compared to 1,281 students (or 16.4 percent) in 2017.

The greatest negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon the entering class was on the number of international students enrolled. The entering class included 201 international students, far below the goal of 475 targeted for this year.

In addition, a total of 427 students (339 freshman and 88 transfer students) deferred admission to Virginia Tech, up from 104 students (94 freshman and 10 transfer) the previous year.

This year’s average first-year student grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) was 3.97, compared to 4.05 a year ago. The average combined SAT score was 1271, compared to 1289 a year ago.

In addition to the successful recruitment initiatives, undergraduate student retention efforts also remain strong. Last year’s freshman class of 7,596 students — the largest in Virginia Tech history — progressed to their second year at a 92.8 percent success rate. This compares to successful progression rates of 92.6 percent and 92.8 percent the previous two years.

Transfer students have also demonstrated a strong progression rate. Last year’s transfer cohort of 1,094 students progressed to their second year at a 90.1 percent success rate. The previous two transfer student cohorts progressed to their second year at rates of 89.3 percent and 90.2 percent.

“A successful enrollment management effort requires a comprehensive approach to student success,” said Luisa Havens Gerardo, vice provost for enrollment management. “Virginia Tech continues its commitment to not only recruit talented and diverse undergraduate students, but to provide the support and resources to promote their success.”

At Fall Census 2020, enrollment in Virginia Tech’s Graduate School stood at 6,332 doctoral degree, master’s degree, certificate, and nondegree students, compared to 6,414 a year ago.

For the current academic year, Virginia Tech has awarded (to date) a total of $95,755,559 in aid to 12,192 new and continuing undergraduate students enrolled for the 2020-21 academic year.

To date, awards include approximately 4,500 eligible students who have received more than $21 million in Federal Pell Grants; 4,322 eligible Virginia residents who received approximately $17.5 million in state grants; and approximately 8,694 who received more than $25 million in university-administered grants and scholarships.

In addition, Virginia Tech awarded its $9,699,494 in Federal CARES Act monies this spring and summer to 12,084 undergraduate and graduate students, who received awards ranging from $400 to $3,700.