Update on Fall 2010 Undergraduate Enrollment

Dear Members of the Saint Mary's College Community,

The beginning of July provides a useful marker for progress on fall undergraduate enrollment. By this time, most wait-list activity is past; the majority of summer orientation programs have been held, "summer melt" (the number of deposited students who subsequently decide not to enroll) has begun in earnest; summer transfer activity is at its peak, and many returning students have received their financial aid renewal awards. Commitment deposits, orientation program attendance, registration totals, summer melt and financial aid packaging totals continue to suggest that the College will substantially exceed its new undergraduate student enrollment, net tuition revenue budget and total undergraduate enrollment targets.

Read melt report.

First-year students

Given the large number of deposits received by the National Candidates Reply date (May 1) and limitations on first-year student housing, the Admissions Office has taken steps to restrict additional deposits. Waiting list students were not offered admission, late-arriving deposits were not accepted, and deadline extension requests were severely curtailed. Even with these unusual steps, deposits totaling 730 as of July 1 and lower than normal melt as of this date suggest that the fall 2010 class will reach between 650 and 680. Quality indicators continue to project a first-year class of unprecedented academic strength and diversity.

New transfer students

Transfer student admission activity since May 1 has been at unprecedented levels. Applications, acceptances and deposits since May 1 substantially exceed any previous year in College history. These tracking data suggest that new transfer student enrollment for fall 2010 will likely approach 200.

Total undergraduate enrollment

Undergraduate registration data indicate that retention of continuing students is in line with budget targets. As a result of the higher-than-anticipated size of the new student cohort, total undergraduate enrollment is projected to be 2,575, exceeding the original budget target by approximately 200 students.

Net tuition revenue

Financial aid tracking data suggest that new student net tuition revenue will exceed the budget target by approximately $900 per student. Expressed in terms of non-athletic discount rate (proportion of tuition revenue expended as grant aid), this means that the discount rate of the new class will fall substantially below the budget target of 37 percent. This compares with 42 percent for last year's new student class.

We continue to see student enrollment behavior that reflects unprecedented economic volatility (at least in the past half-century). Conversations with new students and families this summer, particularly transfer students, indicate that access to and perceptions about the quality of public higher education in California are heavily influencing enrollment behavior.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments about these data.


Michael Beseda
Vice Provost for Enrollment

Vice President College Communications