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ASU anticipates fall enrollment record

August 24, 2009

In spite of the nation's economic crisis, Arizona State University continues to increase both student access and quality, according to projections released by the university. ASU enrollment will set another record, with overall numbers expected to exceed 69,000.

Last fall's enrollment was just over 67,000. This year's number represents a 25-percent increase in just seven years, from 55,000 in 2002. ASU has grown its enrollment over this time period in order to keep up with rapid growth in the number of eligible high school graduates in Arizona.

In that same seven years ASU has ramped up its recruitment of top scholars, the ethnic diversity of its student body and the financial assistance it provides to students. Some indicators:

• A freshman class of more than 9,200 will include a record 118 National Hispanic Scholars, bringing the total to around 335. ASU has perhaps the highest number of National Hispanic Scholars in the country, up from only 75 in 2002.

• The class is 34 percent ethnic minority, reflecting the demographics of the state. This represents a quantum leap from 2002, when the freshman class was 22 percent ethnic minority.

• More than 600 National Merit Scholars are enrolled at ASU, about 160 of them new freshmen. ASU's National Merit Scholars have increased 61 percent since 2002.

• ASU attracted 12 of the state's 17 Flinn Scholars this fall, an elite group of top Arizona students who are awarded full funding at any Arizona university of their choice.

• ASU awarded more than $519 million in financial aid last year to boost student access, a record amount. Low-income Arizona freshmen enrollment increased by 873 percent from 2003 to 2008.

Indications are that a college education is seen as more valuable than ever. Graduate enrollment is up almost 8 percent, and undergraduate enrollment is up more than 3 percent. About 5 percent more students are going to school full-time.

Retention of last year's freshmen is expected to surpass 80 percent for the first time, reflecting a concerted effort to help students succeed through increased academic services and advising.

In Tempe, 70 percent of freshmen now live on campus, reflecting ASU's emphasis on living and learning communities that help students succeed academically and reach their goals.

"The reputation of ASU and the strength of our academic programs continues to increase, enabling us to enroll not only the top students in the state, but also a very strong representation of talented students from around the country," says Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ASU's executive vice president and provost.

"Since most of our students remain in Arizona after graduation, this represents a tremendous gain for the state. Our goal is to make sure that no qualified Arizona student is denied access to a college degree. We want to increase the number of college-educated individuals who can meet the needs of Arizona's future."