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March 6, 1997

Freshman applications for fall running ahead of 1996 numbers

Pitt freshman applications for fall 1997 are running 29 percent ahead of last year's rate, up to 10,683 from 8,286 at this time last year, Chancellor Mark Nordenberg told the trustees.

The number of freshman applications as of Feb. 13 already exceeded the final totals for the last three years — 9,455 in fall 1996, 7,825 in fall 1995 and 7,709 in fall 1994, Nordenberg said.

Citing Office of Admissions and Financial Aid statistics, Nordenberg also reported that:

* Pittsburgh campus freshman enrollment in fall 1996 was 2,650, up from 2,424 the previous fall and 2,435 in fall 1994.

* The average, combined Scholastic Admissions Test (SAT) score for Pittsburgh campus freshmen was 1,144 in fall 1996, an improvement over the average scores of 1,137 in fall 1995 and 1,122 in fall 1994. "These were real increases" and did not reflect recent changes in the exam itself, the chancellor said.

* 58 percent of Pitt freshmen last fall had graduated in the top two-fifths of their high school classes; 25 percent were in the top 10 percent. Both numbers represented improvements over the two previous years (55 percent and 21 percent, respectively, in fall 1995; 53 percent and 24 percent, respectively, in fall 1994).

* Of last fall's freshmen, 451 qualified for enrollment in Pitt's Honors College. That was up from 345 such freshmen in fall 1995 and 289 in fall 1994.

The percentage of Pittsburgh campus freshmen whose homes are more than 500 miles from Oakland was 8.9 percent in fall 1996, up from 7.1 percent in fall 1995, 6.7 percent in fall 1994 and 5.4 percent in fall 1993, Nordenberg said.

Pitt's percentage of out-of-state students also is increasing, according to the Office of Institutional Research. In fall 1996, 5,612 students (18 percent of the University's total enrollment) were non-Pennsylvanians. In fall 1995, 5,421 Pitt students were from out-of-state (17 percent of the total enrollment). In both fall 1994 and fall 1993, 15 percent of Pitt's total student body was from out of state.

Enrolling larger numbers of outstanding students and "a more geographically diverse" student body enhances the learning environment for all Pitt students, Nordenberg said.

Raising academic standards for Pitt undergraduates was one of six institutional goals that the Board of Trustees set in February 1996. Other goals dealt with defining the role of the chancellor, improving administrative efficiency, securing an adequate financial base, maintaining excellence in research, and increasing Pitt's role as a regional economic force.

–Bruce Steele

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