May 8, 2009

Dear Members of the Saint Mary's College Community,

I am writing to provide an update on fall 2009 undergraduate student enrollment indicators and to request your assistance. Please note that these totals are preliminary; typically, 12%-18% of deposits are received after the national candidates reply date of May 1st.

1) Total new student deposits of 614 indicate that the College is on track to achieve its enrollment target of 680 new students (550 first- year and 130 transfer.)

2) Economic concerns have resulted in a doubling of students asking for deposit extensions and/or appealing aid awards. As a result, post May 1 enrollment activity will likely be greater than in previous years.

3) Current deposit data project a Saint Mary's sesquicentennial class that is more academically talented (15% Honors - the highest in College history – vs. 12% a year ago), diverse (45% students of color – also an all time high - vs. 40% last year) and needy (86% on aid vs. 79% last year and 72% in '07) than in any previous year. Pell Grant recipients comprise 35% of deposited students compared to 25% a year ago.

4) Current institutional aid commitments for new students totaling $9.1 million, exceed the College's budget target for this group by approximately $1.0 million. While the average SMC institutional award has actually declined by $525.00 from last year's record high, the larger than expected expenditure total results from the greater proportion of students on aid and their relatively greater level of need.

5) Information on overall institutional aid commitments will be available in June, after returning students are packaged. The Financial Aid Office is actively reaching out to returning students, particularly those whose families may be under significant financial stress. Please encourage students with financial challenges to contact their Financial Aid Counselor or the Financial Aid Office.

6) Deposit data show that a significantly smaller proportion of no-need or low need students accepted SMC's offers of admission. If these groups had deposited at prior year rates, current deposit totals would substantially exceed the College's enrollment target.

7) As of the end of registration week, 82.4% of potential returning students have registered for fall 2009 courses, slightly higher than the average for the previous four years of 82.2%

This is an important moment to strengthen connections with all of our students, particularly deposited students, to lessen dreaded summer "melt." Your help in contacting deposited students and welcoming them to Saint Mary's would be greatly appreciated. The Admissions Office will be working with groups across campus to facilitate this communication. Stay tuned for more information and thank you in advance for your help!

Regards,
Michael Beseda
Vice Provost for Enrollment and Vice President for College Communications

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