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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, September 11, 2008

Biggest, brightest IU Bloomington freshman class has increasingly Hoosier make-up

Sept. 11, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Hoosier students make up a growing share of the biggest, brightest and most diverse freshman class ever to enroll at Indiana University Bloomington.

Some 4,679 first-year students are Indiana residents, the largest number in 10 years and the highest-achieving group of in-state students ever to start their education at IU Bloomington.

Total first-year enrollment is 7,564, a record for the campus. The group has the highest average SAT score ever among first-year students at the IU Bloomington campus, and a record percentage of the new students ranked near the top of their high-school classes.

"I am very pleased to see that we are not only attracting a larger share of Indiana high school graduates to IU Bloomington, but a larger share of the state's most academically talented graduates," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "This shows that our efforts to attract these Hoosier students are paying solid dividends. These are students who could have attended top colleges anywhere in the nation. This increases the odds that they will stay here to live and work after they graduate, as well."

The large freshman cohort pushed total enrollment at IU Bloomington above 40,000 for the first time. Campus enrollment reached 40,354 after a 3.5 percent increase from last year, the largest overall increase since 1975.

Studying student

SAT scores, grade-point average and class rank continue to rise for students entering IU Bloomington.

Print-Quality Photo

The average combined math and verbal SAT scores for first-year students was 1,151, up five points from the previous record set last year. Among first-year students from Indiana, 73 percent ranked in the top quarter of their high-school class, a figure that has risen sharply in the past three years.

Many of IU Bloomington's high-achieving new students present an ACT score as their only or primary college entry exam score, said Roger Thompson, vice provost for enrollment management. If ACT scores transformed to the SAT scale are also included in the calculation, the SAT average for this year's entering class increases to 1174. The average ACT score for beginning IU Bloomington students was 26.

The first-year class is also the most diverse in IU Bloomington history, with record numbers of Hispanic and Asian-American students. Among first-year students, the number of Asian-American students increased by 19.8 percent from the previous year, Hispanic students increased by 13.8 percent, and African-American students increased by 8.4 percent.

"It is a testament to the excellence of our faculty and our academic and extracurricular programs that this outstanding group of students has chosen to attend Indiana University Bloomington," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson. "We are delighted that they are here and look forward to being part of this exciting time in their lives."

The number of beginning students from Indiana was the highest since 1998-99 and the second-highest ever for IU Bloomington. Sixty-two percent are Indiana residents, a higher share than in the previous two years. Thompson said the campus made an aggressive effort to recruit more high-achieving high school graduates from Indiana with targeted, customized communication and special programs on campus and at athletic events.

"Last and certainly not least," Thompson said, "we created new scholarship programs and provided a significant amount of financial aid to keep the best students here in Indiana -- which is beneficial to the long-term economic development of the state."

In particular, the new IU Excellence scholarship this year provides full tuition and fees -- a value of $8,000 per year -- for Indiana residents with a combined SAT score of 1,300 or better and a grade-point average of at least 3.75. IU Excellence scholarships were awarded to 576 students.

IU also provides IU Distinction scholarships for high-achieving nonresident students and IU Prestige and IU Recognition scholarships that are also based on SAT scores and GPA. And it has significantly increased need-based financial aid through its 21st Century Scholars Covenant and Pell Promise awards. The first-year freshmen include almost 500 students in the state of Indiana's 21st Century Scholars program, an increase of nearly 60 percent from the previous year.

Average SAT scores for IU Bloomington first-year students continued to rise after a remarkable 25-point increase in 2007 -- while national and Indiana test scores remained flat or dropped slightly. The national average combined SAT score this year was 1,017, and the Indiana average was 1,004.

Thompson said admission in 2009 will be even more selective, as applications are expected to continue increasing and campus officials seek to limit the incoming class. "We recognize we cannot continue to enroll freshman classes of 7,500," he said. "It's going to be more competitive."

Several new records were set for overall IU Bloomington enrollment, in addition to the new high of 40,354 students:

  • Undergraduate enrollment reached a record 31,087. Enrollments at the freshman, sophomore and junior levels are record-high figures, and graduate enrollments increased for the fourth straight year.
  • The share of minority students is the highest on record: 11.1 percent. The campus has record enrollments of African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, Native American and international students.
  • The number of credit hours, 544,236.5, is also a record high.

For a chart on numbers of first-year students from Indiana, see For a chart on the percentage of students near the top of their high-school class, see For a chart of average SAT scores, see