Update on Enrollment Trends

Dear Colleagues,

Undergraduate enrollment trends that began to make themselves evident a year ago in significant increases in activity for midyear enrollment have continued. I am writing to provide an update on undergraduate new-student enrollment for midyear, total undergraduate enrollment at midyear and fall 2010 admission trends at our freshman application deadline.

Midyear New-Student Enrollment

Midyear new-student enrollment totaled 86 students, lower than last year's record high of 95 but 41% higher than the average for the previous four years of 61. Of note, the College's inaugural midyear first year cohort includes 18 trailblazers joining the class of 2014. CSU's decision to enroll new transfer students for spring 2011 clearly dampened transfer student demand compared with last year.

Midyear Total Undergraduate Enrollment

Spring 2011 undergraduate enrollment of 2,592 (as of 3/11) represents an all-time high, exceeding last year's total of 2,387 by 205 students (8.6%) and the previous high of 2,496 in spring 2003 by 96 students (3.9%). Spring 2011 undergraduate enrollment also exceeds the college's budget target by 26 students (1.0%). The larger than typical midyear new student class and record low student attrition (net of 1.1%) contributed to this result. Of note, preliminary data from Institutional Research Director Sam Agronow indicate that fall 2010 to spring 2011 retention for the first year class was 96.8%, an all time high!

Fall 2011 Undergraduate Admissions Trends

At the first year student deadline (2/1), applications totaled 4,778, a 32.3% increase from last year's record total of 3,612 and 44.2% higher than the average for the previous four years. Growth in honors applicants (41.2%) and out-of-state students (37.3%), and continued strong ethnic and racial diversity (56.8%), highlight this large and strong pool of applicants. Providing evidence that these are not "phantom" applications, attendance at President's Honors Receptions (204) and registration for the Honors Overnight Program are running 40% higher than last year's record highs.
Transfer applications, while slightly lower than last year (4.7%), are 30.0% higher than the average of the previous four years and appear on track to comfortably meet the budget target of 150.
The Trustee-mandated reduction in the new student discount rate (from 36% to 33%) means that new students and their families will be asked to make a significantly greater financial commitment for the opportunity to attend SMC. Many new students, particularly those that are most academically qualified, will be asked to contribute as much as $5,000 more than a similar student last year. Demonstrating the value of a Saint Mary's education will be vital in the weeks ahead.

The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices continue to ask for and appreciate your assistance in recruiting and enrolling this plentiful, talented group of applicants.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

Michael Beseda
Vice President for Enrollment and College Communications