DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – At a time when many colleges and universities across the country are seeing a decrease in enrollment, the University of North Texas has hit an all-time high.

UNT’s enrollment is up 4% with a record-breaking 40,796 students this fall.

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More first-time college students are going to UNT than any other university in North Texas.

“I’m actually pretty surprised because a lot of colleges aren’t doing so well,” said UNT freshman Ryan Smith.

The enrollment growth is due in part to a 13% increase in graduate students. UNT now has more than 8,000 students seeking advanced degrees.

“There’s a need for people to retool,” said UNT President Neal Smatresk. “We’re offering innovative new degree pathways to help gain the expertise they need to really move ahead in their career.”

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President Smatresk says the numbers are also a testament to the university’s commitment to helping students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In fact, by the time November hits, we’ll have distributed nearly $19 million of grants and aid to students who are hard hit financially,” he said.

Smatresk says about 55% of students are taking classes solely online right now, but thousands still have some in-person learning.

The on-campus residence halls are at about 75% capacity.

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“There’s a lot of people here, there’s a lot of things that still go on,” said UNT freshman Celeste Vestal. “It still feels like a college campus.”

Caroline Vandergriff