U-Idaho Sees Significant Increase in Idaho Students; Strategy Spurs Growth in Key Targeted Areas

Tuesday, September 6 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – Idaho’s best and brightest students continue to make the University of Idaho a destination of choice for success. The university has seen a six percent increase in new in-state freshmen, students who responded favorably to changes made in programs that increased scholarships for Idahoans.

On the 10th day of classes, a snapshot taken of enrollment numbers shows a total 12,312 students at U-Idaho. While the total number is up slightly from last year, it reflects a significant shift in demographics. Nearly 75 percent of the new freshmen are from Idaho, with nearly 34 percent coming from first-generation families in which neither parent earned a bachelor’s degree. This was the group primarily targeted by changes last year to scholarship programs.

“Since Idaho has among the lowest rates in the nation of students who go on to college, we made a concerted effort to help qualified Idaho students who might otherwise not have been able to attend the University of Idaho,” said M. Duane Nellis, president. “I’m excited that we’ve seen such a positive shift occur so quickly--these students are Idaho’s future.”

For fall 2011, highlights representing the university’s academic quality show U-Idaho:

• Attracted 17 new National Merit Scholars, for a total of 74;

• Attracted freshman students distinguished for achieving high academic quality; 10 percent graduated with a grade point average of 3.93 or higher and a median GPA of 3.39;

• Drew a freshman class with a median ACT composite score of 23.0;

• Maintained the state’s highest retention rate among public institutions--totaling 80 percent--meaning students who begin their educations at U-Idaho return for subsequent semesters.

The University of Idaho leads with the best graduation rate in the state--recent data indicate 60 percent of all university’s undergraduate students obtain a degree from U-Idaho.

While overall enrollment remained positive and stable, several key areas grew significantly in response to financial aid changes aimed at in-state students and students with financial need.

Year-over year figures show:

• Nearly 75 percent of the university’s incoming freshman are in-state students, a nearly six percent increase;

• A five percent growth in diversity among freshmen. Overall, approximately 18.6 percent of freshmen are diversity students. A breakdown shows 2.1 percent are new international students, 9.3 percent Hispanic/Latino and 7.2 percent are from another minority, including students who belong to two or more ethnic groups.

“The university’s strategic investment in the education of Idaho’s residents is vital to the state’s success,” said Nellis. “Through sustainable and managed enrollment growth, the University of Idaho is able to support the needs of Idaho students within existing university resources. What we offer in return is an unmatched educational experience for those students who want to succeed and lead.”

In addition to the key growth areas in new freshmen, other areas of growth include new transfers, graduate enrollment and dual enrollment. For the fourth straight year, transfer students grew with an enrollment of 804, an increase of six percent over last year, contributing to a record undergraduate degree-seeking enrollment of 9,140.

Graduate enrollment also grew with a 1.2 percent increase to 2,140. Many graduate students come to U-Idaho to be involved in statewide research that last year brought in nearly $80 million in competitive research awards and contracts. The university also anticipates doubling its dual-enrollment headcount, but the varying start dates for high schools statewide means those figures will not be available until later in the semester.

“The university’s commitment to meet students’ ability to pursue a college degree makes us an attractive choice,” said Steve Neiheisel, assistant vice president for enrollment management. “We’ve inspired Idaho students by making sure they know a college education is within reach. We have relevant, real-world programs of study; the quality of our students is high; and our financial aid packages are attractive, so we’re able to provide students with the means to achieve a college degree.”

The university is unique in Idaho, through its land-grant institution charter, to serve all of Idaho’s citizens. Enrollment at most of the university’s statewide centers also shows sustainable growth on the 10th day:

• University of Idaho-Boise: enrollment is 336, down 10 percent from a year ago;
• University of Idaho-Twin Falls: enrollment is 51, up 13 percent;
• University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene: enrollment is 529, up 5 percent; and
• University of Idaho-Idaho Falls: enrollment is 353, up 8.6 percent.

Enrollment on the Moscow campus is 11,043, stable from a year ago.

The enrollment numbers include full-time and part-time students at the university, whose main campus in Moscow features a residential living and learning experience.

For consistent reporting purposes, universities tend to use fall enrollment numbers as the official totals for the current academic year.

Prospective students interested in admission for fall 2012 should note a key event coming up: Envision Idaho, for high school seniors, on Oct. 7 and Nov. 4.

More information about Envision Idaho is available at: www.uidaho.edu/envision.
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About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.