Friday Letter 2016-10-28:
Our Enrollment Growth at UI
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This is an exciting time at the University of Idaho. Last week we announced the public campaign for a new arena for basketball and volleyball. The arena will enrich UI’s great residential experience and offer outstanding facilities to our student-athletes in all court sports. Our students want this facility, and have stepped forward to support it. Consider investing in this game-changing facility yourself.
We’ve also made enrollment gains — an important trend for UI and our state. Overall, our enrollment increased 3.6 percent, to 11,780. We realized a 6.5 percent increase in new Idaho resident freshman, amid a 4.5 increase in overall new freshmen. For in-state students, the Direct Admissions program, spurred by UI in partnership with our State Board of Education, is part of that success story. Direct Admissions offered automatic admission to qualified high school seniors and resulted in a 5 percent system-wide increase, according to 10th-day state board enrollment data, in addition to the gains at UI.
One Direct Admissions anecdote needs to be shared, from a new freshman from Boise whose high school career had been “up and down.” The Direct Admissions letter he received informing him that he was admitted to the University of Idaho was the first time he’d imagined our university was a possibility. He hadn’t thought he could get accepted. He’s now a freshman on campus in one of our fraternities, enthusiastic about his classes and taking every advantage of an opportunity he didn’t even know he’d earned. I know there are many students like him, including many first-generation college attendees who make up nearly one-third of our student body this fall.
We’ve also seen an increase in new transfer students, both from Idaho and beyond, 8.6 and 4.9 percent, respectively. Those Idaho students benefit from VandaLink agreements with North Idaho College, the College of Western Idaho, the College of Southern Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College. VandaLink provides a seamless transfer of credits and scholarship support for the many community college students who are ready to take on a four-year degree.
We are a diverse, inclusive and global campus. The percentage of students from underrepresented groups in our freshman class rose from 16 percent to 23.2 percent. That increase grows out of strong work by our diversity advisory groups, our admissions and recruiting teams, and special programs such as our Tribal Excellence Scholarship. This fall students come to UI from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., 79 countries, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa and the Virgin Islands.
I want to keep building on our success. We’re continuing to lead the charge in the Direct Admissions initiative. High school students across Idaho — maybe one you know, maybe your own child — may have already received notification of automatic admission to the University of Idaho, based on their academic qualifications. I encourage those students — and I hope you will, too — to take the next steps, save their spots at UI, and get started with financial aid at uidaho.edu/apply. Federal changes mean you can fill out FAFSA right now, using last year’s taxes. UI has moved its financial aid priority date to Dec. 1 so that students and families will know their financial aid awards by the holidays – more time to make the best decision for a great education. And as of this fall, we have waived the application fee for Idaho residents. We will forego about $200,000 in revenue — an investment we are making in the future of Idaho students.