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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First-year students at IU Bloomington set records for academics

Sept. 1, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- First-year students at Indiana University Bloomington cracked the 1,200 mark for SAT scores this year, continuing a trend of dramatic improvement in academic preparedness. The average combined math and critical reading SAT score for freshmen jumped 29 points to a record 1,203.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The increase reflects a sharp rise in enrollment of the best-qualified high school graduates from the state of Indiana -- including a 50-percent increase over the past two years in Hoosier freshmen with SAT scores over 1,300. The percentage of Indiana residents among first-year IU Bloomington students also continued to increase this fall, reaching 64 percent.

"We are pleased that so many of Indiana's best students are choosing Indiana University," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "These are young people who have their choice of colleges, public and private, across the country. The fact that they have decided to stay in Indiana for school means they are more likely to remain here after graduation, contributing to the state's future leadership."

Buoyed by 7,340 first-year students and improved retention rates, IU Bloomington set a record for enrollment with 41,756 students. The old record, set last year, was 40,354. (Part of the increase resulted from moving the Kelley Direct online MBA program from Indianapolis to Bloomington).

The freshman class at IU Bloomington includes record numbers of Hispanic, Asian-American and international students, and enrollment of African-American students increased from last year.

"We are delighted to welcome this outstanding group of first-year students," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "We are proud that, with so many options available to them, they chose Indiana University Bloomington. They will contribute greatly to the vibrancy and diversity of the campus."

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis also appeared to be on its way to setting an enrollment record with 30,101 students. Applications for admission to IUPUI increased by 9.2 percent.

Around the state, enrollment records were smashed at several campuses, and every IU campus reported records for the number of credit hours being taken.

  • IU South Bend enrollment increased by 16 percent to 8,251, breaking a record set in 1992.
  • IU East enrollment increased almost 20 percent, setting a record with 2,746 students.
  • IU Southeast set an enrollment record with 6,840 students.
  • IU students enrolled at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne set a record at 7,277.
  • Enrollment increased from last year, but didn't set records, at IU Northwest and IU Kokomo.

Most figures reported today are for the first day of classes. Official enrollment figures for the year are taken on "census day" during the second week of class.

At IU Bloomington, the reported SAT scores include scores from the ACT college-admissions test converted to equivalent SAT scores; about 30 percent of Bloomington freshmen take the ACT. SAT scores for Bloomington freshmen have increased by 85 points in four years.

Officials said the enrollment of top high-school graduates has been boosted by the creation of automatic scholarships - including the IU Excellence, IU Distinction, IU Prestige and IU Recognition programs - which award generous grants to students who meet high academic standards.

Highlights for IU Bloomington first-year students include:

  • Almost 33,000 students applied for admission, a record number.
  • The number of Indiana resident freshmen with SAT scores above 1,300 increased by 19 percent - after a 31-percent increase in 2008-09.
  • The percentage of freshmen who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American or American Indian increased to 13.2 percent, up from 12.2 percent last year.
  • The class includes 87 National Merit Scholars, a 37 percent increase from last year; and 147 students who were high-school class valedictorians.
  • 35.6 percent ranked in the top 10 percent of their high-school class, and 71.8 percent ranked in the top quarter of their high-school class. Among Indiana residents, 39.8 percent were in the top 10 percent and 77.1 percent in the top quarter.

Roger Thompson, IU Bloomington vice provost for enrollment management, said the campus' success in recruiting highly qualified students results from a team effort involving admissions and financial-aid staff, administrators, academic deans, faculty, alumni and others.

"This is a result of so many different entities, all with a stake in the future of Indiana University, pulling together," Thompson said. "As a result, we have accomplished something to be proud of."

The fact that more highly qualified Indiana residents want to come to IU Bloomington has made admission to the campus more selective, Thompson said. "We've raised admission standards for out-of-state students, and I think that's fair," he said.

The increase in SAT scores for new IU Bloomington students came as state and national average scores declined. Average SAT scores for college-bound students this year were 515 in math and 501 in critical reading -- a combined average of 1,016 -- the College Board announced last week.

For a graph showing average SAT scores for IU Bloomington first-year students for the past 10 years, see For a graph showing changes in the percentage of Indiana resident first-year students in the top quarter of their high-school class, see