The incoming first-year class is the most academically prepared in the last seven years.

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Another record-breaking year for enrollment

Class of 2014 one of the most academically prepared classes ever

Preliminary data indicates that Ohio University will see another record year for enrollment. Not only is total enrollment up for the 2010-11 academic year, ahead of last year’s record, but the Athens campus incoming class is the most academically prepared in the last seven years.

Overall Ohio University enrollment for fall 2010, which includes undergraduate and graduate students on all six campuses and in E-learning programs, is projected to be about 34,000, an increase of six percent over last fall. 

“We have seen a small growth here in the Athens Campus traditional populations, but the larger growth is coming from our regional campuses, graduate outreach, and online distance learning programs,” said Craig Cornell, vice provost for Enrollment Management.

“We have also seen an increase in the Athens Campus average ACT scores, high school GPA and SAT scores,” said Associate Provost for Institutional Research and Assessment Michael Williford. “These are some of the best scores I've seen in a long time.”

During a time of increased competition for high-achieving students across the state, the preliminary numbers indicate the strength of Ohio University’s academic reputation. President Roderick J. McDavis distributed credit for this achievement across the University community.

“We are very proud and pleased by the academic indicators of our entering freshman class. Their talent, diligence and academic promise speak to our faculty and staff’s commitment to recruiting students who want to learn from the very best teachers, mentors and scholars in their field. It is at the heart of what we do and do best,” said McDavis.

An academically strong Athens campus freshmen class

The average ACT composite score for freshmen on the Athens campus saw a significant increase, jumping from 23.8 to 24.0.
Cornell explained the significance of the increase in ACT scores, the largest jump of the three statistics used to track academic preparedness.

“We saw a great interest and excitement from all of the class of 2014 from the beginning of the recruitment cycle through Bobcat Student Orientation,” he said. “This was particularly evident with students who had strong academic indicators; the final numbers mirror what we saw in our more than 13,000 applications all year.”

But, numbers don’t tell the whole story, Williford cautioned. "We need to keep in mind that this doesn’t represent the full range of what goes into making admissions decisions. Every folder of every student’s application is individually reviewed and considered.”

Continued strong growth on regional campuses and in E-learning programs

Enrollment is also up on OHIO’s five regional campuses and two centers, yet again. This fall saw a 3 percent increase in enrollment. But, by far, the largest growth was in Lifelong and Distance Learning.

“Over the last two years they have had about a 400 percent increase in the number of students enrolled,” said Williford. “The biggest portion of those students was in the online RN to BSN program.”

The RN to BSN program allows registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree online.

“Enrollment growth on our regional campuses and in our E-Learning programs is significant to Ohio University during this time of economic uncertainty and when we are seeing a decrease in the number of traditional, college-age students graduating from high school,” said Williford.

Cornell agreed, “We’re unique because we draw our students from all over the state in a way that many other schools don’t. This is a sustainable and balanced growth across a diversity of learning experiences. We’re bringing an Ohio University education to students in Athens, across southeast Ohio, across the state and, in some cases, across the country through our online offerings.”

Meeting enrollment-based budget targets

The first-year student enrollment target forms a critical part of the Athens campus budget. Present numbers are on track with budgetary projections.

There are currently 3,985 first-year students enrolled this fall on the Athens Campus. That is fewer than last year, but exactly in line with projections and equal to the new freshman class two years ago. Total undergraduate enrollment on the Athens campus is more than 17,000.

In anticipation of meeting enrollment targets, President McDavis approved the establishment and distribution of a $750,000 merit-based raise pool for Group I faculty on Aug. 30. The creation of the merit pool, which formed part of the FY 2011 Athens budget plan, was contingent on meeting enrollment goals.

The College of Osteopathic Medicine and the regional campuses, which are not included in the $750,000 merit pool, have their own plans for recognizing and rewarding the efforts of their Group I faculty.

“Getting to our enrollment goal required a great deal of dedication and hard work,” Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit said. “Meeting the goal was vital and it puts us in good stead to make progress on our academic aims. I want to thank everyone who contributed to our enrollment success.”