Gains seen in total enrollment, selectivity and diversity
Oct. 30, 2007
By Anita Martin
Updated fall quarter figures show Ohio University's overall student enrollment increased from last year, as did the selectivity and quality of the first-year class. The numbers also reflect increased enrollment of nonresident and multicultural students, improving the diversity of the overall student body.
"One of the significant goals of Vision OHIO is the improvement of the quality and diversity of our students," Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl told Faculty Senate earlier this month. "Quality, multicultural student numbers, nonresident student numbers and selectivity improved in this year's first-year class, and overall, enrollment is up."
The updated, but still preliminary, student headcount for the Athens campus for fall 2007 is 20,225, including undergraduate, graduate and osteopathic medical students – up about 80 students from last fall quarter. Headcounts for undergraduate (16,645), graduate (2,656) and the College of Osteopathic Medicine (437) increased from last year.
The official headcount will be completed in late January or early February.
The total undergraduate headcount exceeded by 169 students the projection included in this year's university budget, whereas Athens regular graduate headcount fell 126 students below the budget projection, but is up 40 students from last fall. Because many graduate students receive stipends and fee waivers, the lower-than-budgeted graduate headcount does not necessarily translate into less revenue.
The fall 2007 first-year class is 4,006, down from last year's 4,084, yet close to the targeted 4,050. The university received its second-highest number of freshman applications: 13,020, up 336 from last year (2002 was the highest at 13,195). Reflecting efforts to improve selectivity, 103 fewer first-year students were admitted compared to last year, an acceptance rate of 82 percent (up from last year's 85 percent).
Interim Executive Vice Provost David Descutner noted that while the university works to increase selectivity, continuing to ensure access is a priority because academic excellence and access are not mutually exclusive. "As we become more selective and hold to our commitment to access, we make sure that more and more of our entering students arrive ready to meet the faculty's expectations," he said.
The quality of the first-year class, as measured by average ACT scores and high-school performance, also increased from last year. The mean ACT composite is 23.6 this year, up from last year's 23.4. The class includes 126 fewer students with an ACT of 20 or below. The average high school GPA is 3.34, compared to 3.35 last year.
Overall, multicultural enrollment rose 15 percent in the first-year class, from 341 last year to 393 this year. Nonresident first-year enrollment increased from 376 last year to 459 this year, a 22 percent hike. This is attributed to increases in both domestic nonresident enrollment and international enrollment, which rose from 19 last year to 81 this year. There are 444 new transfer students this year, just below the targeted 450.
The importance of these statistics, Descutner said, is that students benefit from being exposed, both inside the classroom and out, to a variety of cultures, traditions and ways of thinking. "Encountering individual perspectives, intellectual traditions, religions, sexual orientations and cultures different from a person's own provokes one to think and reflect, and this thinking and reflecting are central to deep learning," he said.
"On a more practical level, students, to be competitive for the best positions in the world beyond the university, must acquire and be able to demonstrate intercultural fluency," Descutner added. "They must be able to show a prospective employer that they are able to debate issues forthrightly and work collaboratively with women and men who are different from themselves."
Descutner creditd Krendl's leadership and the teamwork of all involved -- the colleges' faculty and staff, the offices of Admissions and Financial Aid, the Enrollment Management and Admissions Committee, and other units across the university -- for the increased quality and diversity of this year's first-year class.