Student populations, academic profiles increase

By Alex Rosenthal, MANAGING EDITOR
On September 5, 2013

As the USF System continues to grow, metrics across the board also continue to increase — particularly in regards to the admission rate of international and graduate students, according to USF’s latest released statistics.

After the end of last week’s drop/add period, various figures on the university’s 47,943 students were released.

The total number of international degree-seeking students increased to 2,657, with more than 800 of those students admitted this year, an — increase of 48 percent from last year’s 540 admitted students.

“It is an integral part of the strategic enrollment plan of the university to increase the geographical diversity of the university most particularly to improve the relevance and quality of USF education,” Provost Ralph Wilcox said in a presentation at Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Throughout the USF System, increases in graduate students totaled 11,884. The largest increase in this was the rise of medical students, which had a 26 percent increase. Wilcox said this increase could be attributed to the creation of the PharmD program in USF Health.

Director of Undergraduate Admissions David Lee Henry said student academic profiles have also been on the rise since the admission season over a year ago.

“We’ve had stronger students not only (being) admitted, but applying,” Henry said. “That benefited us from the very beginning.”

Wilcox said the Tampa campus’ new class of first-time in college (FTIC) students grew to 2,889 students — an increase of more than 3 percent to last year.

While Tampa’s FTIC profile’s average SAT and ACT scores, 1200 and 27 respectively, stayed about the same as the year before, the average high school GPA increased to 4.0.

“The percentage of students in our freshman class that graduated in the Top 10 and Top 20 percent of their high school classes has grown significantly and is indicative of improved readiness and quality of education,” Wilcox said.

Based on national trends in statistics and his experience, Henry said this improved academic profile could possibly indicate better graduation and retention rates in the future for the university.

“That 4.0 is indicative of a strong class, and a class that should retain (students) at a high rate over the next 4 to 6 years and subsequently give us a strong graduation rate,” Henry said. “The 4.0 resonates the most with me. An academic high school GPA, along with a 1200 SAT score, is a strong predictor of success.”

— Additional reporting by Elizabeth Engasser

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