Campus News

UGA projects more diverse freshman class for fall 2005

Based on commitment deposits received from admitted students, UGA is projecting another academically strong freshman class this fall, with significant increases in minority enrollment compared to last year’s class.

“This is just a first-cut projection,” says Nancy McDuff, associate vice president for admissions and enrollment management. “We won’t have final and full demographic information until fall.”

Admitted students were required to send in a non-refundable deposit of $200 in early May to reserve their space in the class of 2009. The Office of Admissions received deposits from 4,800 students, a few hundred more than the enrollment target of 4,600.

But that’s OK, McDuff says. “We normally lose a small percentage of these students over the summer, for a variety of reasons, so I think we’re on track.”

The good news is that even though the current numbers do not reflect final fall enrollment, the university is also on track with its goal of increasing diversity in the freshman class, and particularly in enrolling more African-American students. UGA does not use race or ethnicity as a factor in making admissions decisions, but has stepped up targeted recruitment efforts in recent years.

“Based on the commitment deposits, I expect we’ll enroll as many as 350 African-American students this fall, up from 202 last year,” McDuff says. “That’s a very significant increase in both actual numbers and percentage of the class.”

McDuff projects the number of Hispanic students will be around 90, up from 72 in fall 2004, while those choosing to identify themselves as multiracial should number around 175, up from 146. Overall, she expects non-Caucasian enrollment in the freshman class to be around 21 percent, compared to 15 percent last year.

“Of course, we won’t know our fall enrollment numbers until students who have sent in their commitment deposits show up for orientation and actually register for fall classes,” says McDuff. “We expect to lose some students, mainly because this is a very talented group academically. Some may find they have been accepted off a wait list at another excellent school and that may change their plans.”

UGA also has a wait list of about 500 students. Because of the strong response from admitted students, McDuff expects only a small number of students from the wait list will be offered admission. Wait-listed students will be notified of their status by the end of this month.

McDuff notes that this year’s applicant pool was more diverse than in previous years-a fact she attributes to efforts made by many units across campus, as well as the work of admissions office staff.

“I really think the success we are seeing in attracting and, we hope, enrolling more students of color is the result of a team effort involving faculty, staff, students and alumni who wanted to get involved in the process,” she says.

Recruitment efforts included more and earlier contacts with prospective students and offering more opportunities for campus visits. During spring semester, the admissions office hosted 39 “new Dawg” information sessions on campus for admitted students and their parents.

The office also hosted receptions for admitted students all over the state.

“Alumni came out to help us with these events,” says Karen Webb, senior associate director for admissions. “In Savannah, Mayor Otis Johnson-a UGA alum-served as host. The entire campus community came together this year to offer support in a variety of ways.”