Sept. 18, 2007
By Jennifer Krisch
Photo by Megan Nadolski
Ohio University's Office of Institutional Research released its preliminary Athens campus headcount enrollment numbers at Monday night's Faculty Senate meeting. This early snapshot reveals overall growth in student numbers and student quality -- along with the second-highest number of applications in the university's history.
Preliminary figures show enrollment on the Athens campus is 20,322, which is 176 more students than last year at this time. Undergraduate enrollment climbed by 120 this year to 16,686. Graduate enrollment is up by 49 to 3,200.
First-year international student enrollment grew by 300 percent, from 19 students last year to 77 this year. Out-of-state first-year enrollment saw an increase of 21 percent, from 376 during the 2006-07 academic year to 454 this year.
"We expect to continue having success with international recruitment, which contributes to everybody's enrichment," said David Descutner, interim executive vice provost, while addressing the senate.
Incoming student achievement also increased this year, based on high school performance and ACT scores. The mean ACT composite is 23.6 this year, up from 23.4. Average high school percentile ranks are up from 68.3 last year to 69.0 this fall. The grade point average of this year's incoming class was good, and virtually the same as last year (3.34 compared to last year's 3.35).
"This is a strong first-year class. Selectivity is up this year," Descutner said. "We have a more academically prepared class."
In her written report to Faculty Senate, Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl praised Precollege programs for their role in helping enrollment this year.
"Surveys from parents and students indicate that their experience at Precollege was overwhelmingly positive," she said. "A good Precollege experience is essential in ensuring matriculation."
Additionally, graduation rates for Ohio University continue to be strong. Six-year graduation rates are still 71 percent, the second-highest in the state for public universities, behind Miami. The four-year rate increased from 48 percent last year to 51 percent this year.
Transfers rose from 438 last year to 447 this year. The increase comes within three of the projected 450.
Enrollment of entering freshmen is 4,023, close to the target of 4,050 and down from 4,084 last year. Compared with last year, the mix of the class includes more out-of-state and international students, which increases the diversity of the student body.
Preliminary numbers also paint an overall positive picture for retention. Continuing students increased by nearly 100 this academic year, and re-enrolling students -- those who took at least one quarter off, then came back this fall -- increased by 60. Only the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate dipped this year, from 79.8 percent last year to 78.5 percent this year, but the result was not surprising.
"We have put in place aggressive retention-boosting strategies, but you don't normally see the results of those immediately," Descutner said. Due to the nature of educational cycles, the effects of retention efforts will take multiple years before showing full results.
Finally, freshman applications came close to setting a record this year. The university received 13,018 first-year applications this year, up 334 over last year and second only to 13,195 in 2002.
In her report, Krendl praises the people who have helped bring us to this point.
"I would like to give credit and thanks to David Garcia (director of Admissions) and the staff of the Office of Admissions, assistant deans and faculty in each of the colleges, and the members of the Enrollment Management and Admissions Committee (Matt White, chair) for these outcomes," she wrote.