SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Despite declining numbers of college-ready high school graduates in the region, Slippery Rock University was again able to maintain the academic quality of its incoming students for the start of the 2013-14 academic year.
The 15th day report, the official benchmark of enrollment in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, finds the average SAT score of incoming freshmen at 1006, down only 4 points from the previous year.
The average high school grade point for incoming freshmen also held steady standing at 3.40 this year, compared to 3.41 a year ago.
"We worked very hard to attract the best and brightest students, and by looking at their high school grade point averages, we know these students can be very successful at Slippery Rock University, if they continue to apply themselves in college as they did in high school," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment services.
The report shows 12.3 percent of this year's freshmen come from the top 10 percent of their high school class; 36.4 percent from the top 25 percent of their class. The figures are nearly identical to the previous year.
SRU's enrollment for fall semester was boosted by a 1.12 percent increase in its retention of students from first- to second-year status.
"Our 2011 retention cohort was 81.24 percent, and stands at 82.36 percent for this year," Yale said. Retention for African-American students jumped 8.47 percent, from 67.39 percent in 2011, to 75.86 percent for 2012. Hispanic enrollment retention jumped 10.25 percent and returning students reporting two or more ethnicities was also up, 4.22 percent.
"The faculty, staff, and students have worked hard to create a proactive student-centered environment both in-and-out of the classroom experience, which has assisted us in retaining and graduating more students. This past year, SRU experienced the largest number of graduating students ever," Yale said.
Total fall semester enrollment declined 212 students from the previous year, but was helped by increases in graduate student enrollment and stability in the transfer admissions environment. New freshmen enrollment declined from 1,546 last fall to 1,408 this fall. SRU's total enrollment for fall 2013 is reported at 8,347, compared to 8,559 a year ago, representing a 2.48 percent decline.
Of this year's incoming class, 7,367 were Pennsylvania residents, compared to 7,574 last year; out-of-state enrollment dropped by only one student for fall 2013, standing now at 911. The number of international students attending SRU this semester is 69, down only four students from the previous year.
Graduate students, both in-state and out-of-state, increased from 699 a year ago to 752 this year, with the increase of 53, split almost evenly - 28 from Pennsylvania and 25 from out-of- state. International graduate student numbers held even at five.
"This certainly shows that SRU's reputation in providing a quality graduate school education is increasing. We have some outstanding programs and later this year we will bring on our new blended master of business administration, with classes online and at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry. That program is drawing well from the Pittsburgh region and will certainly help grow SRU's graduate enrollment," Yale said.
The overall decrease in enrollment affected credit hours generated, or taken, by enrolled students. Students signed up for 121,241 hours of classes in 2012, compared to 177,380 this semester.
There are again more women than men enrolled at SRU: 4,275 women; 3,320 men.
By college, SRU's College of Health, Environment and Science, led enrollment with 2,837 students; the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, followed in second place with 2,335; the College of Education followed with 1,270 students; and the College of Humanities Fine and Performing Arts enrolled 644 students.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.