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Enrollment increase exceeds earlier estimates
October 13, 1998

Freshman enrollment for the academic year 1998-99 increased 16.9 percent compared to last year's class, exceeding previous estimates of a 10-12 percent increase, Dolan Evanovich, associate provost for enrollment management, said Tuesday. The final enrollment figures show that UConn is increasingly becoming the college of choice for high-achieving students, he said.

"In addition to the quantitative gains, we are particularly pleased with the significant improvement in the quality and diversity of our new freshman class," Evanovich said, noting that not only is the size of the class larger than last year, but the quality has improved markedly, with the average SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) score up eight points, and the number of minority students up more than 27 percent.

"This is a clear indication that the quality and value of the University of Connecticut is in the forefront of families' decision-mak ing processes as they consider colleges," he said.

Susan Steele, vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction, agreed, adding that, though large, the increase was well managed.

"The increase itself is important, but what is critical is that we also increased the quality and the diversity of the student population," Steele said. "And the University responded to the growth by making certain that we could appropriately accommodate the student increase by maintaining faculty quality and course accessibility."

Along with the gains at Storrs in quality and diversity, all the regional campuses, with the exception of the Waterbury campus, posted increases. The largest increases were achieved at the Stamford and greater Hartford campuses.

Evanovich says the main reason for the leap in enrollment is the quality of education at UConn, but he also attributes the increases to a range of new and enhanced efforts to bring students to Storrs and the regional campuses. Those efforts include:

  • An earlier than ever outreach effort, with admissions officers sending direct mail pieces to high school juniors.

  • The implementation last January of a computer-based telecounseling program, when a cadre of UConn students began calling high school students who had applied for admission to or sought information from UConn. The telecounselors walked the recruits through the admissions process.

  • A new communications package, with two new publications extolling UConn's educational value, the quality of the faculty, and the breadth of co-curricular activities at UConn.

  • The UConn 2000 building program, which has helped foster a positive attitude about the transformation of the University and has excited potential students and parents who visited during open houses or who learned about the program through the media.

Evanovich gives credit for the enrollment successes to the entire enrollment management team. "Everyone in admissions, financial aid, the scholarship and orientation offices and our student staff performed their jobs at the highest level," Evanovich said. "We also appreciate the outstanding work of the faculty and staff in helping the University exceed its expectations."

Slightly more than 11,000 high school students applied to UConn, a 5.1 percent increase, and offers of admission were made to 7,570 applicants, a 10.2 percent increase that, Evanovich says, is indicative of the quality of the applicants.

The new class brings UConn's total undergraduate enrollment to 14,855, compared to 14,382 in 1997-98, an increase of slightly less than 4 percent.

Steele and Evanovich said that, while continued growth will be a goal for the next five to eight years, future efforts will focus increasingly on quality and diversity. Steele said it is critical, too, that new growth be managed prudently, not only by adding sections and faculty at entry level courses, but also by anticipating future demand as the larger classes begin selecting majors.

Richard Veilleux