MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) - The president of Middle Tennessee State University says the institution anticipates enrollment growth this fall.

The Daily News Journal reports ( ) that President Sidney A. McPhee addressed the university's board of trustees on Monday in light of community concerns about off-campus apartment safety, which he says has created a "false narrative." McPhee says the growth comes amid a push to target top students in response to a state program offering free tuition for community colleges.

McPhee says the push has translated into increases in MTSU's average GPA and ACT scores, and the university was recognized as the top choice of the majority of Rutherford County's valedictorians and salutatorians.

The university saw a 12.5 percent increase in overall applications despite flat numbers from Memphis and a decline in West Tennessee.

Information from: The Daily News Journal,

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