By Annalisa Purser, associate director, University of Utah Communications
Once again, the University of Utah welcomed its largest, most academically qualified, and most diverse incoming class of first-year students. After a record 14 percent increase last fall, it was a feat to continue the upward trajectory. For fall 2018, 4,256 first-time freshmen enrolled at the U—a 3.3 percent increase from last fall’s 4,119 students.
Within the freshman cohort, 50 percent identify as women, 29 percent are domestic students of color; collectively, these students have the highest average ACT scores (25.7) and high school grade-point averages (3.63) in U history. Additionally, a quarter of them scored a 30 or higher on the ACT, with 36 being a perfect score.
“This year’s incoming class speaks to the quality and value the University of Utah offers,” said Mary Parker, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at the U. “Those who attend the U have access to internationally recognized faculty, research opportunities as undergraduates, networking with their peers who are among the best and brightest, coursework that connects them to the community and gives them résumé-building experiences and support services to aid them through all aspects of student life.”
Overall enrollment increased by 0.7 percent, to 32,994 students. Of these, 24,743 are undergraduates, and 8,251 are seeking graduate degrees. Additionally, the six-year graduation rate, which the university has focused on improving during the past several years, is now at 70 percent—well above the national average for four-year schools—and approaching the institution’s goal of 75 percent. This is up more than 10 percentage points from where it stood a decade ago and is the result of strategic efforts designed to support students holistically as they work toward their degree.
“As our university president has repeated: Access without degree completion is a hollow promise,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the U. “It is not enough to get students here—we must ensure they’re leaving with a degree that prepares them for the future.”