SMU enrollment hits all-time high

The class of 2024 helps drive record enrollment at SMU

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU has welcomed a record-setting student body for Fall 2020.  While students have adapted to changes that support health and safety, the University has expanded its online and virtual offerings and exceeded its enrollment targets for both undergraduate students and graduate students.

This fall’s combined student body of 12,385 is the largest in SMU history. 

The new group of first-year undergraduate students – the Class of 2024 – reflects SMU’s growing academic stature and national reputation. Its 1,531 students come from 46 states and 24 foreign countries, and just over 40 percent of them are from Texas. In addition to first-year students, 297 new transfer students began classes at SMU this fall on the way to completing their bachelor’s degree.  One-third of the new students identify with ethnically or racially underrepresented groups, setting a new record for diversity at SMU. 

“At SMU we celebrate the bold and the curious,” said Elena Hicks, Dean of Admission at SMU. “This is the most resilient and adaptable entering class I have seen.  A lot of people may have expected students to give up or delay going to college due to the pandemic – but our students are learning here in ways that meet their needs, and they are thriving.  They have passion, grit, and fortitude, and I am so proud to call them Mustangs!”

The University’s flexible academic model during the COVID-19 pandemic allows students to study in-person through an alternating classroom calendar and/or remotely from their homes. The remote study option has been very popular with international students. Approximately 18 percent of undergraduates and 50 percent of graduate students will complete their entire semester virtually. To offer the highest level of academic experience in the safest manner, SMU faculty members have participated in advanced training for virtual instruction, and the University de-densified classrooms and converted larger meeting rooms and ballrooms to provide appropriate social distancing for additional in-person classes. The University has invested widely in upgrading campus facilities with higher grade air filters, plexiglass partitions, enhanced cleaning and other and health and safety measures.

Looking forward, SMU continues to engage with prospective students through virtual tours and meetings with students across the country and around world. In May, SMU joined many top colleges and universities in temporarily waiving ACT and SAT scores for students graduating from high school in 2021 because those tests may not be available consistently this academic year. Students applying for Spring or Fall 2021 may choose whether to submit these scores as part of their application for admission.

SMU’s average ACT score for entering students remained at 31 this fall, a score representing the top 5% of students taking the ACT nationally.


SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and over 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.