February 6, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 36°F


Ithaca College freshman class has lowest enrollment in four years

Despite a record-breaking number of applicants, Ithaca College missed its enrollment target for the class of 2016.This year’s freshman class is made up of about 1,570 students. The college had aimed for 1,600-1,650 students, but missed that number by about 75 students.

Enrollment Data
Kacey Deamer/The IthacanCharts and graphs displaying the class of 2016 enrollment statistics.

Eric Maguire, vice president of enrollment and communications, said because the applicant pool was larger than in previous years, the college was more selective during the admission process.

This year, the college reported the largest pool of applicants to date — 13,812. Of that number, the college admitted an estimated 8,962 prospective students, which was around the same number of applicants it admitted in 2011. However, because the applications last year totaled only 13,436, the admittance rate decreased from 68.2 percent to 64.9 percent.

According to the Hechinger Report published in Time Magazine on May 2012, 40 percent of private colleges in the United States reported declining enrollment.

Though the college missed its enrollment goal, the number of diversity students increased. The African, Latino, Asian and Native American population has been increasing at the college since 2007, when 11.7 percent of the class were ALANA students. The class of 2016 currently has the highest percentage of ALANA students to date with 19.3 percent, 0.9 percent more than last year.

International student numbers also rose this year — from 1.6 percent last year to 2.4 percent. Maguire attributed the increase in international students to the college’s recruitment efforts abroad with the college’s undergraduate music tour in Asia and the college’s work with establishing a satellite campus in China.

“With the music tour we’ve been doing in Asia we’ve had more Chinese students,” Maguire said. “Taking a broad perspective on it, if you look at our data over the last couple of years, there’s still a very broad representation across the globe.”

Following this year’s low enrollment, the college recently hired Huron Consulting Group, a consulting education company, to curtail expenses. Carl Sgrecci, vice president for finance and administration, said the under enrollment will cost the college an estimated $6 million. This, he said, is manageable in the short term because the college has contingencies built into its $230 million budget, but if the next incoming class is under-enrolled, the college will have to cut expenses.

“Everything is on the table to look at how we can possibly balance the budget if the circumstances were to continue,” Maguire said.

This year’s class also had a higher academic indicator than the class of 2015. Maguire said the average SAT score for the 2016 class was on average 1176 points, which was 11 points higher than the class of 2015.

The exact demographic data for the class of 2016 will be available after Oct. 1.

Maguire said the college will continue to be selective about the type of students they admit to the college, despite low enrollment numbers.

“Students that are really interested in rolling up their sleeves and being involved in their studies and applying that course work to their particular field — that’s what we’re looking for in the application process,” Maguire said.