Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

2009–10 first-year class one of the biggest in DU history

In the news media’s stream of gloomy economic news, higher education has been a target of dire headlines about declines in enrollment. Not so at DU.

At the end of the third week of classes, total fall enrollment — including undergraduate and graduate students, the Women’s College and University College — is 11,770, which is an increase over a year ago. Third-week numbers are considered final and stand as the official enrollment.

Tom Willoughby, vice chancellor for enrollment, says the increase in DU’s first-year enrollment is consistent with other private colleges and universities across the nation. He says 38 percent of schools experienced increased enrollment this fall, 38 percent decreased and 24 percent stayed the same.

“Given the economy, we were concerned about a slip in class size due to last-minute decisions not to enroll,” Willoughby says. He notes the University implemented several initiatives to minimize potential “changes in plans.” This included increased funding for financial aid and holding down the rate of tuition increase.

Willoughby says the availability of additional financial aid helped fund an increase in aid requests. “Overall financial aid requests increased significantly with 27 percent more incoming students asking for help this fall compared to last fall,” he says. In addition, requests for need- based financial aid among continuing students increased by 10 percent compared to a year ago.

For the third consecutive year, DU has enrolled more Boettcher Scholars than other universities in Colorado. DU has 13 first-time, first-year students on Boettcher scholarships bringing its total to 53 Boettcher scholars enrolled. The Boettcher Foundation Scholarship Program is a merit-based competition for Colorado high school students recognizing scholarship, leadership, service and achievement. The Boettcher Foundation awards 40 scholarships each year.

By the Numbers

The first-year class is 57 percent female; 43 percent male.

Forty-four percent of first year students are from Colorado. Approximately 19 percent are from the West and Southwest, 17 percent are from the Midwest, 9 percent are from the Northeast, and 5 percent are from the Southeast.

Not only are the first-year students geographically diverse, they also have more diversity.  DU’s enrollment of first-year domestic students of color increased to 18.5 percent from 15.5 percent last year. The number of first-year international students also increased, to 5.8 percent from 5.3 percent. International students hail from 13 different countries. Like last year, more are from China than any other country.

Enrollment at the Women’s College is up by more than 6.5 percent, and University College enrollment also has grown. Graduate enrollment increased to 6,394 students from 6,347 last year.

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