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Spring semester enrollment reaches record number

If you think the campus is more crowded than past spring semesters, it’s not your imagination.

For the first time in USF history, a non-fall semester had more than 40,000 students enrolled on the first day of classes.

Combining USF’s five campuses, 40,748 students were enrolled on Jan. 8, nearly 2,000 more than the spring 2006 semester (38,779). On the Tampa campus, 33,076 were enrolled, up from 31,969 last spring, according to statistics on USF’s Web site.

“It’s something we should be proud of,” Provost Renu Khator said at a faculty senate executive meeting Wednesday.

Vice Provost Ralph Wilcox issued a note of caution about the numbers, saying it’s likely they’ll fall a bit by this coming Monday.

“My gut is that after the add/drop period, the gap between the fall (2006) enrollment and this semester will shorten,” he said.

“But I would be surprised if we went under 40,000.”

On the first day of the fall 2006 semester, 43,422 students were enrolled. The drop instudents between semesters is attributed to graduation and dropouts, Wilcox said.

USF is the ninth largest university in the nation and the second largest in the southeastern United States. Only the University of Florida has more students.

When comparing spring 2006 to spring 2007, the percentage of minorities is nearly equal. Minorities accounted for 23.2 percent of the students in 2006 and 23.3 percent in 2007.

“We are becoming more selective, but also more diverse,” Khator said.

When it comes to first-time-in-college students, USF is decidedly more selective than it has been.

In spring 2006, 41.8 percent of first-time-in-college students were accepted, while only 23.3 percent were this semester.

The acceptance rate of Florida community college transfers and other transfers both declined only slightly. USF accepted 78.9 percent of Florida community college transfers in 2006 compared to 72.6 percent this semester. The acceptance rate of other transfers dropped from 66.1 percent in 2006 to 63.8 percent this semester.

The acceptance rate of graduate students stayed about the same (56.6 percent in 2006 compared to 56.3 percent this semester), but 2007 saw 300 more acceptances than 2006.

Khator said she couldn’t yet explain the graduate student increase but said the “streamlining of the application process” deserved some of the credit for the rise.