The University of Cincinnati is projecting a total enrollment of more than 37,000 students as classes begin on Sept. 24, the largest number of students in 18 years and more than 500 students over last year’s total enrollment of 36,518. “UC’s significant progress on retention and graduation rates, student satisfaction and increasing numbers of international, transfer and distance-learning students as well as word-of-mouth pride in the transformation of campus are all adding to the swelling number of Bearcats,” says Mitchel D. Livingston, UC vice president for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer.
UC is also celebrating its most academically prepared freshman class on the Uptown Campus, a result of admissions standards that are reflecting the success of UC’s growing retention and graduation rates as part of the UC|21 Strategic Plan. Early Admissions figures indicate that freshmen entering UC’s baccalaureate colleges on the Uptown Campus hold an average ACT test score of 24.8, significantly higher than last year’s average of 24.1 and also higher than the national average ACT test score of 21.1. SAT test scores are up to 1125 this fall, compared with an average of 1109 last fall. Read more about UC’s freshman class and success criteria.
In addition, UC is reporting an increase of over 20 percent in transfer students striving to turn their associate’s degree into a bachelor’s degree. UC expects to enroll 1,500 transfer students this fall, an increase of 220 transfers over last year. Among them, UC awarded 117 UC|Pathways Scholarships to students entering UC from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Sinclair College and Raymond Walters College. Caroline Miller, senior associate vice president and associate provost for enrollment management, says the scholarships exemplify the UC|21 commitment to provide pathways to success and better serve the needs of transfer students. Miller adds that UC’s growing number of transfer students is also attributed to UC’s Transfer and Lifelong Learning Center, which provides support and services for students with diverse educational backgrounds and goals. UC Admissions representatives regularly visit the campuses of Sinclair and Cincinnati State to assist students seeking opportunities for a bachelor’s degree.
UC International is reporting growing success in recruiting international students to campus. The number of UC’s international student population is up 5.6 percent from last year, as UC this fall announces the first international agreement of its kind for UC with China.
Meanwhile, once students start on campus, UC is celebrating significant success in keeping them here, in part due to the academic success strategies to recruit incoming freshmen as well as increasing programs to support student needs. Retention rates have increased from 77 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2008. In addition, UC’s graduation rate has increased to 55 percent from 48 percent in 2003.
“Retention is the single best indicator of the quality of an institution’s students as well as its educational support systems and academic programs,” says Anthony J. Perzigian, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and provost. “UC’s improved retention is also a stronger predictor of improved graduation rates.”
UC announces another initiative to support retention efforts this fall, as the university introduces Sophomore Learning Communities to support students in seven challenging academic programs at UC. Unique, new living and learning communities begin at the university-affiliated Stratford Heights Community on Clifton Avenue, with the opening of the new Gen-1 theme house with support programs and services specifically for first-generation college students, a new living and learning community at Stratford for international graduate students and a COMMunity house for communication students.
UC is also attributing successful retention and graduation rates to its many student-centered programs supported by Success Challenge funding from the Ohio Board of Regents – funding aimed at increasing the retention and graduation rates of students who are at risk of dropping out of college due to cultural, socioeconomic or academic challenges. Nationally, UC reports the third-highest among extensive research institutions in the percentage of Pell eligible students – students who demonstrate an extreme need for financial assistance.
“Given the quality and diversity of our student body, I am especially pleased with expressed student satisfaction with the support that UC provides both inside and outside of the classroom,” says Livingston.
UC’s retention success is reflected in the 2008 Student Satisfaction Inventory, which reported increased UC student satisfaction in 91 percent of the categories examining student satisfaction in institutional effectiveness, financial aid, support services and campus climate.
UC is highlighted for its academics, reputation and diversity in the 2009 Princeton Review of “The Best 368 Colleges.”
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