UNC Charlotte Sets Enrollment Record With More Than 30,000 Students

North Carolina’s urban research university is now the second-largest institution in the UNC System

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Charlotte announced Monday that they set an enrollment record which includes having even more diversity among their students, according to enrollment figures.

The University welcomed approximately 4,000 new first-year students, 2,600 transfer students and 2,400 new graduate students this fall, pushing total enrollment over 30,000 for the first time in UNC Charlotte’s nearly 75-year history, according to UNC Charlotte officials.

“We are now the second-largest institution in the UNC System with 30,146 enrolled students,” announced Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This record-breaking enrollment is a testament to UNC Charlotte’s long-standing focus on affordability, accessibility and opportunity for deserving students. Chosen for its high academic achievement, the freshman class brings an average weighted GPA of 3.9. In fact, a greater percentage of all new undergraduates earned institutional merit-based and external scholarships compared to last year’s incoming students.”

UNC Charlotte’s record-breaking enrollment term simultaneously happened during the COVID-19 pandemic while universities are still figuring out the best way to reach out and educate students.

“The significance of the role our students, faculty and staff in recalibrating our enrollment efforts as a result of the coronavirus cannot be overstated,” said Claire Kirby, director of undergraduate admissions. “Individuals from all areas of campus life helped us to meet prospective new students where they are in this new virtual environment, leading eventually to today’s celebratory milestone.”

The newest undergraduate Niners, selected from more than 26,000 freshman and transfer applications, represent 91 of 100 North Carolina counties, 49 states and 25 countries. More than 2,100 are first-generation college students.

“Niner Nation continues to grow not only in numbers but also in terms of opportunity, diversity and outcomes,” said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our outstanding faculty, academic programs, research capabilities and incredible campus experience make UNC Charlotte the first choice for many students from across the state, region and country.”

According to a news release from UNC Charlotte the enrollment highlights include:

  • Of the nearly 6,600 new undergraduates, more than 6,200 are from North Carolina.
  • This year’s freshman class is the largest in University history, 10% larger than that of 2019.
  • Enrollment among Black/African American freshmen grew by 30% over last year.
  • Students who identify with more than one race or ethnicity jumped by 19% since last year.
  • Hispanic freshman enrollment is up 43% since last year.
  • Nearly 33% of the incoming class are first-generation college students.
  • The average weighted GPA of the 4,000 new freshmen is 3.9.
  • A greater percentage of new undergraduates received institutional merit-based scholarships for fall 2020, and more students also earned external scholarships when compared to last year. Honors College enrollment increased by 6%.
  • Incoming freshmen in STEM majors represent 34% of the class.
  • Total graduate student enrollment is nearly 6,000, the highest number in UNC Charlotte history.
  • Significant graduate school growth is attributed to more than 700 new in-state students who enrolled.
  • Noteworthy graduate enrollment increases include the MBA program and the Graduate Certificate in Teaching.

The University attributes the enrollment boost in part to its quick implementation of both live and pre-recorded virtual admissions events and individual attention to students’ needs. The admissions staff reached out via text, phone and email to admitted students to make sure they had all the information they needed to register for summer orientation, enroll in fall courses and join the UNC Charlotte community.


About UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte is North Carolina’s urban research university. With an enrollment of more than 30,000 students, the University leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity, exemplary undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and a focused set of community engagement initiatives.