The University of Dayton announced Friday that it will welcome its largest class in the university’s history this fall.
There will be about 2,205 first-year students in the incoming class, according to information from the school. The previous record class was in 1967 when 2,073 first-year students enrolled.
University officials also said that the class is among the most academically prepared groups of students in the school’s history and has significant increases in African-American and Hispanic students.
The administration and faculty were actively involved in increasing the school’s population of diverse students, said Sundar Kumarasamy, vice president for enrollment management and marketing.
“The faculty are deeply committed to academic excellence in their programs and that shows when they interact with students,” he said. The school, he said, has been edging closer to the record number for the past several years.
He pointed to the school’s four-year tuition plan that eliminates fees and offers money for books and a promise that scholarships and grants will increase each year to offset tuition increases as some of the reasons parents and students choose UD.
“Our tuition plan gives a family more than just the ability to better financially plan their student’s education,” he said. “They tell us that one of the most important factors is their peace of mind in knowing what the future costs will be.”
Kumarasamy also said the school’s trip to the NCAA basketball Elite Eight this year likely boosted interest in the school.
“Of course it has an influence,” he said. “(With) kids on the cusp, sometimes it helped them to favorably choose us.” Kumarasamy said there is anecdotal evidence from social media that indicates the boost in interest.
This year, he added, there have been 10,000 more inquiries for information about the school.
“It created a lot of awareness and impact,” he said. “Inquiries are the first precursor to shaping up an applicant pool.”
First-year student Anne Whalen of Oakwood said she wasn’t surprised to hear about the large first-year class.
“I thought maybe the basketball tournament and all the publicity from that would influence people’s decisions,” she said.
Whalen, who is an accounting major, said she chose UD because, “Of the community, the Marianist values, the size and location and I got a good scholarship, too.”
It was a natural decision for Whalen, whose family has a tradition of going to UD. Her sister graduated in 2011 and her grandfather and great uncle have buildings named for them at the school.
“I have a lot of family history here, too. I’m really excited to meet everyone — to get started and get involved.”
Students started moving into the university on Friday and will continue through the weekend. Classes start on Wednesday.
How is enrollment at other local colleges?
According to information from Sinclair Community College, the school also is hitting records:
• The highest ever enrollment of international students at 192
• The highest ever enrollment of high school students taking college courses at more than 2,000.
• The largest number of Hispanic/Latino students for a fall term ever at 504.
Wright State University has not finalized fall enrollment numbers yet, according to a spokesman.
Central State University also has not finalized their fall enrollment numbers but expect to have 404 first-year students, according to Edwina Harris, spokeswoman with the university public relations office.
Wilberforce University did not provide their fall enrollment number.