Belmont University has more than doubled its enrollment since the year 2000.
The school says 7,300 students are on campus, up 5.5 percent from last year. Belmont had fewer than 3,000 students in 2000. Much of the growth has come from new graduate programs. Belmont has 1,400 students working on graduate and professional degrees this fall.
A statement from school officials says – tongue in cheek – “don’t call it a small liberal arts college anymore.”
Rival Lipscomb University is also experiencing a growth streak that started a decade ago. Campus officials say enrollment tops 4,500 this year. And most notably, the religious college says its retention rate is at an all-time high of 80.5 percent. Nationally, 70 percent of college students return to the same school from year to year.
While classes are beginning this week, enrollment numbers don’t become official in higher education until the 14th day of classes.