Freshman class shows gains at Storrs, decline at regional campuses (Released: 8/22/96)
by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.
STORRS, Conn. -- The number of freshmen who have paid deposits at the University of Connecticut's main campus in Storrs is up 8.5 percent this fall, with 2,395 students indicating their intent to enroll.
By mid-August, 36.5 percent of students offered admission had paid their deposits, including 186 of the 550 students who were offered scholarships. "One third of scholarship students is an excellent yield," said Huckenbeck. "These are all outstanding students who could go anywhere."
Huckenbeck said there has been a change in the attitude of high school students towards UConn. "They are serious about UConn as a choice now, rather than as a backup school. We're a good buy for a quality education and we've had good publicity about the quality of our programs," she said.
Huckenbeck said the factors that encouraged students to apply to UConn this year include a new emphasis on undergraduate education, an improved honors program, and the involvement of faculty and alumni in recruiting by calling potential students and participating in open houses and a college fair. "Prospective students were impressed that alumni were willing to give up a weekend, put on a T-shirt, and go out and recruit," she said.
The final enrollment figures will be announced in October and are expected to be lower. Statistics from previous years suggest that up to 250 of these students will cancel their deposits for the fall.
The gains at Storrs are partly offset by lower enrollment at the regional campuses, giving a University-wide enrollment of 3,016, a net increase of 3.6 percent. Among the five regional campuses, the only one to see a slight increase in new undergraduates is Hartford.
The reasons for the decline in enrollment at the regional campuses are not clear. Some students who would have applied to branch campuses in the past may have applied to Storrs instead this year, said Ann Huckenbeck, assistant vice president for enrollment management. The poor economy in areas where the regional campuses are located may also be partly to blame, she said.
Huckenbeck added that the reduced number of high school graduates -- the lowest yet in Connecticut -- has contributed to lower than expected numbers signing up University-wide.
Nationally, the number of students graduating from high school reached its nadir a couple of years ago and this is reflected in a nearly 10 percent decrease in the number of students transferring to UConn from other colleges. Huckenbeck said transfer numbers are down at almost every public college in the country, she said.
Interest in the University is high, however. More than 14,000 people took part in formal tours of the Storrs campus this year and nearly 11,000 students applied, including 305 more applicants to Storrs than in 1995.
One comparison that is difficult to make this year is the academic profile of the entering class, because the College Board has changed the way it scores the results of its Scholastic Aptitude Test using a process called recentering. In addition, the test itself has been redesigned. This year, the average score for students who have paid their deposits at UConn is 553 on the verbal portion of the SAT and 559 on the math portion, for a combined score of 1112. Class ranking has held steady, with the average student in the top 24 percent of his or her high school graduating class.
This year's entering class will include 572 students from out of state, an increase of 70 over 1995, and 43 international students, a small increase over last year's 41 international undergraduates.
Slightly more than half of the freshman class is women: 1,615 women, or 53.2 percent. In fall 1995, women made up 52.2 percent of the class.
The number of minority freshmen at the University is down slightly, at 607 or 20.1 percent of the class. Last year, the figures were 635, or 21.8 percent.