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.

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.”

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.

“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