As you likely are aware, today is “Census Day” when we report the final enrollment numbers for the fall term.
The official results show a total enrollment of 23,152; that number includes 3,442 entering freshmen. This total represents a decline of 2,025 students (8%) from the fall 2015 numbers.
It is gratifying that within recent weeks, the hard work of the Admissions team and many others throughout the University family has helped mitigate what was looking to be a much steeper decline. In fact, we saw more than a four percentage point uptick in overall enrollment compared with two months ago. That extra effort has paid off, and I extend my congratulations and gratitude for everyone’s dedication and perseverance.
There appear to be two principal reasons for the overall decline. The first is the larger number of students who have been graduating from UA during the last several academic years and that trend continued last year. We are excited to see more UA students receiving their degrees. At the same time, that larger number does have an impact on our overall enrollment. Secondly, this year – unlike the past two years of increases in entering freshmen classes (direct from high school) – we experienced a sharp decrease in the number of new freshmen. The fall 2016 results showed 3,442 freshmen compared to 4,278 for fall 2015.
There are several noteworthy aspects to these numbers:
- The average GPA was 3.44, the highest average GPA in UA’s history for our official traditional freshman cohort.
- The ACT score of 23.3 for the fall 2016 official traditional freshman cohort remains the same as fall 2015.
- New freshmen enrolled in the Williams Honors College totaled 589, compared to last year’s 640, and represents the largest percentage in UA history (17%) of the entering freshman class. That percentage is double what it was in fall 2013.
- Total Williams Honors College enrollment now stands at 2,025, the largest in UA history and represents 10.4% of total undergraduate enrollment, the largest since the founding of the Honors College.
- The percentage of minority students in the entering freshman class increased from 23.1% last year to 25.1% this year.
- The percentage of out-of-state entering freshman students increased to 9.3%, from 5.7% two years ago.
- Overall, campus-wide enrollment reflects a total of 45 states/territories and 92 foreign countries, both increases from the prior year.
I want to reiterate what I have been saying for the last several weeks. The revitalized spirit and energy that is being shown throughout the campus and the community for The University of Akron is inspiring. Many people from many different quarters are showing their support in many different ways, including wanting to help with student recruitment. I have started a round of visits to principals at area high schools and I can tell you they are eager to hear more about UA and the ways in which their students can advance their learning and their careers by attending UA.
Thank you for all of your efforts as we come together to move UA forward!
Matthew J. Wilson
The University of Akron