CU-Boulder Enrollment Reaches All-Time High With Growth in Minority Students, Graduate Enrollment

September 17, 2009

Despite struggling national and Colorado economies, the University of Colorado at Boulder is showing an all-time high in total enrollment, with key gains in the total number of graduate students, and undergraduate and graduate students of color.

CU-Boulder's fall 2009 census figures, announced today, showed 30,196 degree-seeking students are enrolled at CU-Boulder, an increase of 1.6 percent (487 students) over last year's previous record, and a gain achieved despite a planned drop in the number of new freshmen, from 5,855 in 2008 to 5,519 this year.

Of that 5,519 new freshmen, 3,227---or 58.5 percent---are Colorado residents, while 2,292---41.5 percent---are nonresidents. New freshmen come from 1,534 different high schools, 239 in Colorado and 1,294 from other states or countries.

The resident freshmen total represents a 5 percent increase over 2008's total of 3,064, while the number of nonresidents decreased by 17 percent. Still, the total number of CU-Boulder undergraduates stands at an all-time high of 25,408, an increase of 328 from last year, with 314 additional residents and 14 additional nonresidents compared to fall 2008.

"We didn't expect that last year's off-the-charts freshman class would be replicated this year, given the economy and some changes to our admissions processes," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "Despite those factors, when we see the strong numbers of returning, transfer and new graduate students, it is clear that CU-Boulder is holding its value even in the toughest economic times."

Overall, ethnic minorities comprise 15.1 percent of undergraduates, compared to 14.9 percent in 2008. In fact, all undergraduate ethnic group numbers are higher than 2008, with a 3 percent increase in minority enrollment compared to a 1 percent for non-minority. Asian undergraduates increased by 3 percent, African-American by 5 percent, Hispanic/Latino by 1 percent and Native American by 13 percent. The number of ethnic minority graduate students is also the highest ever, at 520---29 more than last year and 22 more than the previous high, set in 1995.

Students of color constitute 16 percent of freshmen, the same percentage as 2006 through 2008, and the total number of undergraduates of color---3,832---is up almost 100 from last fall. Among new freshmen, 889 are students of color, a decrease of 42 from last fall, but a smaller decrease (4.5 percent to 5.4 percent) than the overall freshman decrease.

"Many of our faculty, staff and students are working hard to instill a stronger culture of inclusive excellence," said Sallye McKee, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement. "Our strategic plan, Flagship 2030, provides a bold vision of becoming a role model in this regard for the nation, and under the leadership of Chancellor DiStefano we are making strides. We hope that prospective students and their families will continue to take notice. We need their presence if we are to build a student body that respects, embraces, celebrates and reflects the multidimensional aspects of human diversity."

Total graduate enrollment increased by 159 students, from 4,629 to 4,788. There are 51 more resident graduate students and 108 more nonresidents than last year.

"A key part of the Flagship 2030 Strategic Plan is to increase opportunities for post-baccalaureate education and graduate student enrollment," said John Stevenson, dean of the Graduate School at CU-Boulder. "These numbers show we're making progress toward that goal, and reveal also that our programs of excellence and our research achievements are a strong draw for graduate students from across the United States and throughout the world."

CU-Boulder Director of Admissions Kevin MacLennan said he is pleased that CU-Boulder this year has arrived at a freshman class that "is very close to the size of our record-setting 2007 class."

"Given one of the worst recessions in our country's history, this is really phenomenal," said MacLennan. "I echo Chancellor DiStefano that this is an excellent indicator of CU's reputation for value. I would put it this way: CU is on virtually everybody's list as one of the premier destinations in American higher education."

All figures are for students enrolled at census on Sept. 11, seeking a CU-Boulder degree or teacher licensure, with main-campus credit hours. This excludes non-degree students, reciprocal students from other CU campuses, study abroad students, those enrolled exclusively in continuing education or extended studies classes, and those using faculty/staff tuition waiver benefits for all of their credit hours.

Links to related CU-Boulder enrollment data from the Office of Institutional Research are available at:

Overall enrollment: Total degree-seeking vs. not degree-seeking, over time
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/time/degseek.htm

By college: Degree-seeking only, by grad/undergrad and college, over time (students in two colleges are counted in both)
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/time/enrlcol.htm

By new vs. continuing: Degree-seeking only, by grad/undergrad, residency, and new vs. continuing, over time
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/time/enrl88plus.htm

Details including diversity for fall 2009 vs. fall 2008, residency, college (first college only), all by degree-seeking vs. others
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/snap/097087/index.htm

Most popular undergraduate majors
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/misctopics/popmaj09.htm

Enrollment since 1877
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/enrl1877/intro.htm

Academic preparation or qualifications of freshman applicants, admits, and matriculants over time
www.colorado.edu/pba/records/acprep/index.htm

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