A UC first: Enrollment tops 48,000

Record-breaking number of Bearcats begin classes Aug. 22

The University of Cincinnati anticipates record enrollment as classes begin Monday, Aug. 22, with a projected 48,300 students — a 3% increase over last year.

 It will mark nearly a decade of continuous growth of a student body that increasingly reflects the university’s core values.

“This will not only be the largest number of students attending UC in its history but also our largest freshman class, our most academically prepared, and our most diverse class in history,” says Jack Miner, vice provost of enrollment management.

“UC’s success is really about the success of the City of Cincinnati,” Miner said. “More students at UC means more qualified workers for this region, more young professionals settling in this area and more opportunity to attract businesses and industry to this region.”

Behind the scenes of the filming of The College Tour tv show. A'Jiana Birchmore segment

Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

Bearcats by the numbers

UC President Neville Pinto describes the positive enrollment trend “both remarkable and relatively unique” in higher education.

“There’s no more exciting time than when our students return and re-energize our campuses,” says Pinto. “Record numbers are studying at UC thanks to the quality of our academic programs and the overall student experience. We have a high responsibility to each of them. Our goal is to ready our students for what’s next and help connect them to opportunities that lift our city, our region and our world."

Ten years of enrollment growth

2022 — 48,300 + (projected, final tally due by mid-September)
2021 — 46,710
2020 — 46,798
2019 — 46,388
2018 — 45,949
2017 — 44,783
2016 — 44,338
2015 — 44,251
2014 — 43,691
2013 — 42,656

Behind the scenes of the filming of The College Tour tv show. Carlo Bronzie segment, with friends in and around Morgens Hall.

Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

More student body highlights

  • 32% increase in first-generation students in the incoming class. First-gen students represent the first member of their family to attend a four-year institution of higher learning
  • 16% larger incoming class than last year’s
  • 23% increase in Black students in incoming class
  • 21% increase in Latinx students in incoming class
  • Average high school GPA of 3.74, the highest in the university’s history
  • Anticipating a record 4,000-plus international students enrolled, representing 46 countries
  • UC’s first-year retention rate of students hit a high of 86.8%

“UC strives every year to not only serve the people of Cincinnati but also to be reflective of Cincinnati,” says Miner. “I think the increase in enrollment for Black students, Latino students and first-generation students is a reflection of our values and who we are as a university.”

Other universities are experiencing enrollment decline but UC has more than a few factors working in its favor, says Miner.

“I credit UC’s growth with our rising reputation, not just the great record in football and our move to the Big 12, but our nationally ranked programs and especially our top ranked co-op program. Cincinnati itself continues to be ranked as a top college town, top city for young professionals and top city for quality of life.”

And while numbers may capture our attention, it’s really “the lives, hopes, dreams and families that each of those UC students represent” that matter most, explains Miner.

Faculty, students and families enjoyed the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine White Coat ceremonies at Taft Theater Friday July 22, 2022 in Downtown Cincinnati. Photos by Joseph Fuqua II

Some students are already enjoying a return to campus. The journey for medical school students began with a July 22 White Coat ceremony at Taft Theater. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II

I remember thinking, ‘This is the place for me,’ this is where I could see myself living for the next four years.

Dante DiPrimio UC student

‘Big school, but with a small school feeling’

UC students say they aren’t surprised if this fall’s enrollment shatters all-time records. Some who have found success on campus say it’s that sense of community at UC that’s attractive to new students and then helps keep them beyond the initial first year.

“UC is a big school, but with a small school feeling because of the people,” says Dante DiPrimio, a third-year chemistry major who serves as a student orientation leader. “There are a lot of opportunities for success. I remember visiting here as a high school student — UC was the last university I toured. I remember thinking, ‘This is the place for me,’ this is where I could see myself living for the next four years.”

Muslim Khzir is one of the 10 members of the inaugural class of Marian Spencer Scholars.

Dante DiPrimio (left) shows, Muslim Khzir, an incoming student, around campus. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

UC is also a place where it’s OK to ask for help, says DiPrimio.

“I wish I would have known the benefits of stepping out of my comfort zone as a first-year student,” says DiPrimio, “just meeting new people.”

“Go up and talk to new people,” he advises. “I was really terrified of that. What I didn’t know as a first-year student is that everyone just wants to make a new friend.

“It’s not weird to go up to someone in the dining halls, residence halls or any of the communal spaces and just start talking with them. I’ve never had a conversation with someone I didn’t know that I’ve regretted. Everyone has been so welcoming. I’ve been able to make so many friends.”

It’s no wonder that so many UC students return after their first year as a Bearcat.

“One of our major successes over the past year was achieving our highest first-year retention rate in history,” says Miner. “This figure is tracked nationally by colleges and universities as a measure of success in their student achievement and specifically in the academic success of their freshman class.”

Inaugural class of Marian Spencer Scholars move in

As part of the university’s commitment to partnering with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) the Marian Spencer Scholars program was founded in 2021 to recognize high-achieving CPS students. The scholarship covers students’ undergraduate financial needs and includes mentoring and career coaching, an international service abroad trip to Tanzania, participation in a service project to benefit CPS and more. The students are housed together as a learning-living community in Marian Spencer Hall.

The inaugural class of 10 Marian Spencer Scholars embark on their Bearcat experience this fall. By 2023, the program will include at least one student from each of the 18 high schools within CPS.

Read more about this “transformational” program.

Co-op a major draw

For Preet Khimasia, a third-year student in finance and business analytics, co-op was a major reason for choosing UC. Born in India, Khimasia knew he wanted to study abroad, but it was important to have a recognized leader in his chosen field.

“UC had one of the best programs for what I wanted to do,” he says. “What really attracted me is I am a very hands-on learner and a very experiential learner. I can’t just sit in a classroom and expect to study everything. I need to actually get out and do in order to be successful.”

Cooperative education began at UC in 1906 and its program has remained a leader in experience-based learning ever since. The university ranks No. 4 in the nation for co-op, with Cincinnati’s hands-on classroom extending to nearly every corner of the globe, from Fortune 500 companies to trailblazing experiences in places like China, Tanzania and South America.

UC students earn a collective $75 million annually working for thousands of employers including General Electric Aviation, Disney, Toyota, Kroger, Procter & Gamble and many more. UC has nearly 2,000 global partners for the co-op program with students participating in over 7,500 co-op opportunities each year.

Forbes recently noted the university’s leading position and longevity in cooperative education.

Get involved on campus. Get involved in the Cincinnati community.

Isaac Smitherman UC undergraduate student body president

Meet UC’s student body president

Isaac Smitherman and Yulia Martinez, UC student body president and vice president

Isaac Smitherman | Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

UC student body President Isaac Smitherman offers a challenge to incoming students.

“Get involved on campus, get involved in the Cincinnati community,” Smitherman advises. “There are so many great organizations in terms of volunteering. If you want to mentor kids, tutor kids, volunteer with animals or assist people experiencing homelessness, there are so many things going on in our city and people that need help from awesome student leaders.

“Find your community and, whatever programs you are part of coming into UC, do your best to just dive into them. There are so many people that want to help you and hear you out. Branch out, meet new people in your major and build those connections.”

Learn more about Smitherman and vice president Yulia Martinez. 

Blue Ash, Clermont mark half-century

UC Clermont celebrated its golden jubilee this year, now joining its slightly older sibling, UC Blue Ash, which turns 55. Both campuses tout their innovation in the classroom, outreach to surrounding communities and the access they provide to thousands of residents in the region striving for higher education.

  • UC Blue Ash saw first-year enrollment jump by 28% while UC Clermont’s overall enrollment increased by 2%
  • UC Blue Ash saw an increase of 33% in Black students, 14% in Latinx students, 27% in first-generation students and 32% in graduates from Cincinnati Public Schools
  • UC Clermont saw a 38% increase in Black students and a 25% increase in Latinx students

“For 50 years, UC Clermont has launched thousands of lives by staying true to the college’s founding principle — put students first,” explains UC Clermont Dean Jeff Bauer. “This singular mission is at the heart of all we do. We are thrilled to celebrate the college’s success and all those individuals who have played a part in serving our students. At the same time, we are excited for our next chapter, too.” 

Read more about UC’s regional campuses.

UPRISE Medical Sciences student Afra Rahman works in Dr. Karthick Chella-Krishnan’s lab.

Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

New sites ready, other campus structures upgraded

Digital Futures

UC’s new Digital Futures building will be the first facility for interdisciplinary research in the university’s 200-plus year history when it celebrates its grand opening Sept. 23.

Digital Futures will host 20-plus labs led by talented faculty from across all UC’s research enterprise, conducting use-driven research and development, advancing knowledge and creating new inventions that solve problems that matter.

Calhoun Hall

An $80.4 million-dollar renovation to Calhoun residence hall will continue this fall with a planned December completion date. This will allow residents from Siddall Hall to move into the 173,000-square-foot structure during the university’s winter break, says John Seibert, associate vice president of planning, design and construction. 

Renovations on Siddall Hall will then begin. For Calhoun Hall, the bulk of the residential tower should be complete by October. Work will then focus on student collaboration spaces at ground level and connecting to MarketPointe at Siddall, says Seibert.

Did you know Calhoun Hall is the highest point in Cincinnati? Read more.

College of Law

Students gather in lobby at orientation

Orientation for law school students, pictured here in the new UC Law building, started Aug. 15. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II

A formal grand opening for the new College of Law building is slated for Sept. 13, but faculty, staff and students are already enjoying a $45.6 million renovation which has transformed the former Lindner College of Business building. 

The 116,735-square-foot structure is located in the heart of campus. Planners have reinvented and completely reconfigured the existing building to create a state-of-the-art law school designed to meet the technological and specialized needs for 412 law students and 78 faculty and staff in the UC College of Law.

Learn more about the new College of Law renovation.

UC Bioscience Center

The UC Bioscience Center will open this fall. The renovation of the former Hamilton County Coroner’s building on the medical campus will serve the academic and research needs of UC’s Biomedical Engineering department. The building will feature state-of-the-art teaching and research labs, a rehabilitation and injury prevention lab and innovative coworking and shared support spaces for faculty and students.

Clifton Court Hall

Clifton Court Hall will be home to several departments within the College of Arts & Sciences when finished during the 2023-24 academic year. The 185,000-square-foot structure is located on the northwest corner of the Uptown campus. It will house 24 classrooms, provide 230 faculty and staff offices and offer shared space for interdisciplinary programs. 

Learn more.

Behind the scenes of the filming of The College Tour tv show. A'Jiana Birchmore segment

Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

New dining options, changes in package delivery

Students have three new meal exchange locations: Campus View Café, Cincy Grill and Qdoba Mexican. Meal plan holders will be able to redeem meal swipes at Campus View Café, located in University Hall on the medical campus, or at Cincy Grill and Qdoba, located in the Tangeman University Center (TUC) Food Court. More information

Campus Services has opened the Bearcats Package Center inside of TUC. This center for all incoming on-campus residential student packages features more than 400 self-serve package lockers. On-campus residential students should have all packages sent to the Bearcats Package Center address, rather than to their residence halls. Learn more about Bearcat Package Center online

Renovations on MarketPointe Dining Center will continue with anticipated completion of summer 2023. When the 37,000-square-foot facility reopens, customers will find new meal options, increased seating capacity, new food service equipment and a modern environment. The renovation also includes a new entrance. 

Learn more about MarketPointe Dining Center.


Featured image at top: Students cheer Cincinnati at the 2021 Homecoming game featured on ESPN's College GameDay. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

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Whether you’re a first-generation student or from a family of Bearcats, UC is proud to support you at every step along your journey. We want to make sure you succeed — and feel right at home.

Apply today.

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