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August 31, 1995

Freshman enrollment up 1.5 percent over last year

Pitt freshman enrollment is expected to increase by about 1.5 percent this fall, from 2,435 last year to 2,485 as of Aug. 24.

Average, combined SAT scores are up from 1005 for last year's total freshman class to 1015 this fall. Excluding academically "at risk" freshmen admitted through Pitt's special access programs, average SAT scores increased from 1033 to 1046.

The number of African-American freshmen increased from 235 last year (just under 10 percent of the freshman class) to 348 (14 percent of this year's class).

About 19 percent of this fall's freshmen are non-Pennsylvanians, up from 14 percent last year.

Enrollment of out-of-state African-American freshmen doubled, from 82 last year to 164 this fall — the result of Pitt's increased efforts to recruit more black students as well as more out-of-state students, said Betsy Porter, director of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Fifty-five percent of this year's freshmen are women, the same as last year. Each year, the Admissions and Financial Aid staff meets with student "focus groups" and asks new students to fill out questionnaires. "One of the questions we're going to be asking this year is why Pitt seems to be slightly more attractive to female students than it is to men. I have some theories about that but nothing solid yet," Porter said.

Some 800 students transferred to Pitt this fall, up from 623 last year. The University should enroll growing numbers of transfer students in future years as a result of its new articulation agreement with the Community College of Allegheny County, Porter said. She attributed this year's increase to the University's strategy of keeping in touch with students who apply to Pitt but don't actually enroll here. Many of these students move away from western Pennsylvania but end up returning to the region, Porter said. "As we contact these [returning] students, we're finding that a significant number of them are interested in enrolling here," she noted.

Including transfer students as well as freshmen, the number of new students at Pitt this fall is expected to total 3,285, up from 3,058 last year.

Provost James Maher said the University administration had set a goal of increasing freshman enrollment by as much as 6 percent this fall, but is happy with 1.5 percent.

"Six percent was the maximum increase we were planning for," the provost said. "If we had gotten that many, we were prepared to hire a number of new instructors in the College of Arts and Sciences, essentially at the last minute. As it is, we've managed to recruit more freshmen than we did last year while improving our admissions standards and recruiting more minority students. So I think it's fair to say we're quite pleased with our freshman class this fall." — Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 28 Issue 1

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