With UR’s steadily increasing student population, it should come as no surprise that the class of 2011, like the previous freshman class, is one of the biggest Rochester has seen.
This year’s freshman class is made up of 1,050 students, only 50 students fewer than the current sophomore class, despite the record low acceptance rate of 41 percent. Out of these 1,050 students, 57 percent are from out of state, including seven percent international students.
“[It’s] probably our most geographically diverse class ever, and among our most racially and ethnically diverse, too,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jonathan Burdick said, also noting, “It’s our largest transfer class ever – well over 100 new fall transfer students.”
But the increasing class sizes will not affect the financial or merit aid available, according to Burdick, because the ratio of money available to the number of students in need of financial aid remains the same.
“In 2005 and 2006 when tuition increases were somewhat larger than normal, the aid budget was increased somewhat too, but this year’s tuition increase was smaller and aid rates were kept about the same,” Burdick said.
Another pressing matter affected by class size is housing. Last year, a record number of freshmen were put in triples and some even in quads. This year, there are 50 fewer freshmen, so the percentage of students in triples will be less, and no students will be in quads, but the housing issue will remain on the forefront as long as future classes continue to be as large.
The University recently hired a consultant to help manage its future growth. Though the plan is not final yet, the University is looking to steadily increase the number of students, faculty and staff by up to 25 percent over the next 10 years.
This plan is based on the idea that increasing Rochester’s undergraduate numbers will potentially allow for more programs and majors in the years ahead. President Joel Seligman, along with the deans and faculty, will discuss the plan further this semester.
The short-term plans are for the class of 2012 to be smaller than previous classes, which may mean that the acceptance rate will drop even lower.
“This is a great university, so when more students hear about it, more decide to apply. So far, the number of applicants has been growing faster than the University,” Burdick said. “That’s human nature and one of the ways people judge a school; going somewhere more exclusive is appealing. So in that sense, this reduced acceptance rate is a valuable indicator of UR’s high-quality experience.”
As for the current plans to expand housing in order to accommodate Rochester’s growing numbers, Burdick was optimistic.
“The Riverview project has received approval and may open 400 new student apartments as early as fall 2008,” Burdick said. “Watch across the river for cranes and cross your fingers!”
Lombardo is a member of the class of 2010.