Ohio University

Ohio University incoming class breaks another record for student quality

Published: October 8, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s incoming freshman class has set a new record for the highest average high school grade point average, climbing to an average of 3.58. In addition, a record 48.6 percent of incoming freshman ranked in the top 25 percent of their graduating class.

One factor in the increasing student quality is the success of the OHIO Honors Program, which first launched as a pilot in Fall of 2018 with 48 students and has now grown to 698 total students, with 413 new students added in the Fall 2020 incoming class. Even as OHIO Honors is expanding, the average GPA of newly-enrolled Honors students climbed again this year to 4.09 and the average ACT score increased to 29.14.

“The OHIO Honors Program adds to our long-successful Honors Tutorial College model, expanding the honors experience to reach many more high-promise students,” said OHIO President M. Duane Nellis, who supported the launch of the program after joining the University in Spring of 2017. “Students in any major can be a part of the OHIO Honors Program, which ensures they have experiences outside of the classroom focused on leadership development, research or creative activity, or community engagement.”

In addition to increases in student quality, Ohio University’s 4-year, 5-year, and 6-year graduation rates continue to rise thanks to the University’s focus on student success. OHIO also saw record enrollment in its online graduate programs, with 6 percent year-over-year growth. This drove a slight increase in overall graduate enrollment, which climbed to 5,431 students. Enrollment in undergraduate online programs, outside of OHIO’s large RN-to-BSN program, also saw record enrollment with 7.2 percent year-over-year growth.

“Ohio University has been the leader in the state for fully online programs for many years, and we are growing our community college partners outside Ohio as well,” said Interim Vice Provost for Strategic Enrollment Management Candace Boeninger. “While we provide a distinctive, iconic, and transformational residential campus offering, we also recognize that many students today are interested in flexible, affordable, on-demand education options. We continue to expand our degree completion and four-year online offerings to meet those needs.”

Including these gains, OHIO’s total enrollment for fall significantly surpassed earlier projections that accounted for more pessimistic forecasts of national and regional enrollment declines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the University was not entirely immune to the impacts of the public health crisis. Approximately 6 percent of confirmed freshmen took advantage of one of OHIO’s alternative pathways, including deferral of admission to a future semester. Residential graduate enrollment declined slightly, and OHIO’s regional campuses saw a decrease in enrollment. Increases in graduation rates and decreases in incoming students in some areas led to an overall year-to-year enrollment decline of 6.8 percent.

“It will take time to rebuild our overall enrollments in the wake of this pandemic,” said President Nellis. “Nonetheless, we are confident that with our focus on student success with lifelong impact, we will be positioned well to thrive as the nation recovers from this challenging time.”