In High Demand

05.02.2012 | Students, Campus and Community
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With increasing competition in Ohio and nationally for a dwindling number of high school students, the University of Dayton will exceed its enrollment target for incoming first-year students for the third year in a row.

And while some private schools in recent years have struggled to fill first-year classes, the University has emerged from the recession in a stronger position, significantly more selective and demonstrating broad appeal nationally and internationally.

At the traditional May 1 deadline for students to submit deposits, the University had received approximately 200 more enrollment confirmations over its goal. Along with the past two years, next year is on track to be among the five largest classes in University history, rivaling the baby boomer era of the 1960s.

The enrollment target was exceeded even though about 1,000 fewer applicants than last year were offered admission, improving the University's selectivity rate from 76 percent to about 55 percent. Selectivity is an indicator of academic excellence and a key measure in how universities are nationally ranked. According to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data, only two top-100 national universities in the past seven years posted selectivity gains of more than 20 percentage points without compromising academic quality.

And for the first time in the University's history, more than half of the incoming class will come from outside the state, marking steady growth in demand for Ohio's largest independent university from students across the nation and around the globe.

"We have strategically invested in diversifying the University's enrollment – especially out of state and international — to ensure a strong future during a time when demographic trends are increasing competition," said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management and marketing.

The number of first-year students from outside Ohio is on pace to hit a record 53 percent; since 2006 that figure has jumped 13.7 percentage points. The greatest growth is coming from Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and New York.

"This year marks a sea-change for the University of Dayton," he added. "In a tough and competitive environment, this increased demand is recognition of the University's value and academic excellence."

Kumarasamy said the gains have been made without compromising academic quality and maintaining affordability and socio-economic diversity.

"We have been very intentional about managing our process and are accepting students much more selectively," he said. "We look at much more than test scores."

For example, he said every essay is read, ranked and evaluated, and each acceptance letter makes a specific reference to the student's essay.

Commitments from international students also exceed last year at May 1, and the University expects to set a new high for international enrollment, surpassing last year's record in which one in 10 students on campus hailed from outside the U.S.  

This year's class is also expected to have the highest average test scores in the University's history, making it one of the best academically prepared classes as measured by college entrance test scores and high school GPAs. Kumarasamy said improving over last year's record levels for these indicators demonstrates the University's appeal to top students in the nation.

Kumarasamy said the University had early indications deposits would be strong. About 14,500 applications were submitted, breaking last year's record number in January and now exceeding it by about 2,000. More than 7,500 students and families visited campus, a good predictor of enrollment interest.

The University of Dayton remains one of the most affordable private, Catholic universities in the nation. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary (Marianists), the University of Dayton is a top-tier national research university and one of the 10 best Catholic universities in the nation.
For more information, contact Cilla Shindell, director of media relations, at 937-229-3257 or shindell@udayton.edu.