May 6, 2013

Dear Members of the Saint Mary’s College Community,

At the National Candidates Reply Date (May 1), the College is well on the way to achieving its fall enrollment target of 775 new undergraduate students, including 600 first year and 175 transfer students. While continuing to make progress in meeting strategic enrollment goals for class diversity, discount rate and net tuition revenue, deposit totals strongly suggest that the academic profile of SMC’s entering student body has taken a significant step forward.  Of particular note, commitments from first-year students admitted with Honors at Entrance grew by a remarkable 36%, from last year’s previous high of 110 to 150. In just the past five years, the number of first year students entering with Honors at Entrance has more than doubled and the portion of the class entering with academic honors has grown from 10% to a projected 25% for fall 2013.

The following additional observations arise from the May 6 data: 

1)      While total first year applicants fell by 7.7% (402) for fall 2013, those admitted with Honors at Entrance grew by 6.8% (64). The portion of first year applicants who were offered admission rose to 69% from last year’s record low of 65%. And while overall yield on admitted first year students (18.1%) was nearly identical to last year (18.0%), yield on students admitted with Honors grew to 14.7% from last year’s 11.5%.

2)      The high school GPA of deposited first year students averages 3.64, compared with 3.55 for last year’s entering class and 3.3 five years ago. For fall 2008, 27% of the entering first year class had high school GPAs under 3.0, compared with 0.5% (3 students) for fall 2013. 

3)      The academic profile of the entering transfer class mirrors last year’s significant rise in academic quality, with 25% qualifying for Honors at Entrance (minimum transfer GPA of 3.5.)

4)      Ethnic diversity of the 2013 entering class remains strong, with over 57% describing themselves as Hispanic/Latino, African American, Asian American/Pacific Islanders or Native American. Of note, the portion of fall 2013 first year students describing themself as Asian American/Pacific Islander (24.5%) is nearly identical  to the portion describing themselves as Hispanic/Latino (24.8%.) Male students comprise 41% of deposited first year students, marking the second year in row that SMC has achieved this level.

5)      Given typical “summer melt” of 10%, 665 first year student deposits are required to comfortably meet the College’s first year class enrollment goal. With 620 deposits at this point, a couple dozen of the most highly qualified students are currently being offered admission from the waiting list. Depending on variance in melt, a new first year class between 600 and 630 students seems likely at this point.

6)      Transfer application and admission totals are similar to early May from the past three years. Yield for fall 2013, however, is higher (41% vs. 39%), resulting in total commitments for the fall transfer class of 121.With typical transfer activity over the next two months, it is likely that even after providing a margin for average transfer summer melt of 12%, SMC will meet its fall 2013 transfer target of 175 sometime in July. At that point, the College will either need to adjust its transfer enrollment goal or close admission for transfers.

7)      Over $12.1 million in institutional grant aid has been awarded to new students for fall 2013, averaging $14,612 per student. Similar to last year’s entering class, 24% of deposited first year students are Pell Grant-eligible.  Current institutional aid commitments project a new student non-athletic discount rate of approximately 36% for fall 2013, slightly below the College’s budget target of 37%. This result is somewhat surprising given the cut to the Cal Grant maximum.

8)      New student average net tuition of $25,277 for fall 2013 is 2.2% higher than last year’s average on the same date ($24,730). Perhaps most striking and distinctive for SMC is that average net tuition revenue is nearly 24% (almost $5, 000 per student) higher than the peak prior to the economic downturn.

It is always the case that a community, not an admissions office or communications and enrollment division, recruits a class. I am particularly grateful on this, the last occasion I will report to the SMC community on new student enrollment, to the many members of our campus community – Christian Brothers, faculty members, Trustees, students, Regents, staff members, alumni and friends of the College – whose contributions of time and talent over the past year have made these enrollment results possible. And I am personally gratified to have played a part in delivering a class whose academic profile reflects the fondest hopes and labors of over three decades of close colleagues.

With thanks and highest regards,

Michael Beseda

Vice President for College Communications
Vice Provost for Enrollment

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