For those who took part in our annual Recognition of Service luncheon last week, this announcement will come as little surprise. It was during this luncheon that I began our celebration with the news that the College has met and would likely exceed its enrollment targets. I suspect that such good news travels quickly across campus. But in the event it has not, let me follow my celebratory comment with a more official announcement.
The College established an enrollment target this year of roughly 1,700 freshmen. This figure is above our typical incoming class size, in recognition of the large graduating class of 2013. I am pleased to report that (after adjusting for summer melt) we can reasonably expect to enroll 1,770 freshmen this fall.
This good news is complemented by the fact that this year’s class will be the most diverse in the College’s history, with ALANA students representing nearly 22% of the incoming class. I should also note that transfer enrollment is tracking well and graduate enrollment should arrive within a small margin (+/-) of the overall goal.
For those who may be concerned this enrollment success will place undue stress on student housing and academic resources, let me assure you that this number is significantly less than the 2,027 that enrolled in the fall of 2009. And because of the upcoming graduation of that class, our overall undergraduate student population will still shrink from 5,987 this year to a projected 5,808 next year.
There are many people to thank for their work in recruiting and enrolling this year’s class. Individuals in the Offices of Admission and Student Financial Services worked tirelessly with a record 15,657 applicants and their families. But the entire campus community contributed to this success, and I would be remiss if I did not recognize the faculty, staff, and current students who gave their time and talent to support this effort. I thank you.
Our enrollment outcomes this year may well be the result of dedicated effort, new ways of thinking, and an emerging focus on institutional value. As you well know, we have implemented and are continuing to introduce a number of important initiatives that are part of our IC 20/20 strategic plan. Prospective students and their parents last year responded very favorably to descriptions of the ways in which the freshman educational and residential experience will be remade next fall. It is exciting to think of the ways in which a new core curriculum, the first-year residential experience, and new study opportunities in NYC, just to name a few, can come together to provide a truly transformative experience for future IC students.
Of course, we have coupled that investment in educational quality and student learning with a focus on greater affordability. Our tuition increase this year was down more than one percentage point (to 3.8%) from the prior year, while we simultaneously increased our investment in student financial aid.
Taken collectively, it is not unreasonable to believe that our enrollment results reflect the significance of our recent efforts to build upon the value of an Ithaca College education, and we will continue on this course. Thank you for all you have done this year to lay the foundation for success in our enrollment efforts, not only this coming fall but in the years to come.