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Fall freshman class bears witness to university's focus on diversity

December 27, 2006

ASU's fall 2006 freshman class has broken previously established records, with significant gains in diversity, national scholar programs and overall enrollment.

One out of every seven freshmen this fall is from a Hispanic background, as ASU welcomed the most diverse class in its history. The representation of students of color increased 13 percent in one year, with 27.6 percent of the class reporting a minority status.

In the past five years, the number of African-American freshmen has doubled, and enrollment of Asian-American and Native American freshmen has increased by 55 percent and 43 percent, respectively. The population of Hispanic freshmen nearly doubled during this same time period.

Among freshmen from Arizona, 31.6 percent are students of color, up from 30.4 percent in fall 2005 and 25.9 percent in fall 2001.

Trends in scholar programs also signal greater interest by Hispanic students in ASU programs. Eighty-seven National Hispanic Scholars enrolled at ASU, bringing the total National Hispanic Scholar enrollment to 227.

ASU has 188 freshman National Merit Scholars enrolled this fall, bringing ASU's total National Merit Scholar enrollment to 606, among the highest in the nation.

The first-year freshman class reached 9,052, the largest in university history, more than one-third larger than the fall 2001 class and more than double the size of the freshman class in fall 1996. ASU enrolled 5,922 freshmen from Arizona , up nearly 500 compared with fall 2005. Overall enrollment is at 61, 033, for all four campuses.

“We have made significant progress in serving the people of Arizona,” says James Rund, vice president for University Student Initiatives. “Creating opportunities for qualified high school students to pursue their academic dreams continues to be our highest priority.”

Academic Bowl

Academic BowlAlong with the incredible diversity, ASU also highlighted the knowledge of the students with the university's first-ever Academic Bowl competition, which pitted 16 teams of undergraduate students in an intellectual competition for scholarship prizes and the President's Cup trophy.

The competition, sponsored by the offices of Public Affairs and Students Affairs, was modeled after the national College Bowl. Four-member teams squared off in a question-and-answer format on a wide range of subjects, including current events, history, science, sports and culture. Each participating school and college was asked to select four team members and four alternates based on input that will include a competitive written test offered by each competing school or college. The final decision on team membership was be made by each college's dean.

The Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering took home the inaugural Academic Bowl crown. All four members of the winning team received a $4,500 scholarship, while the winning squad's alternate members and the members of the runners-up team, the W. P. Carey School of Business quartet, will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

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