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Freshmen average SAT scores rise to all-time high
October 17, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University’s enrollment has remained steady, while the quality of incoming students continues to rise, Interim Provost Jean-Pierre (Peter) Mileur told the Binghamton University Council during its Oct. 14 meeting.
“Overall, I think we are in excellent shape,” Mileur said. “We have a firm foundation for whatever the next president wants to do.”
Total enrollment for fall is about 14,800, Mileur said in his report to council members. That figure is down less than 100 from last fall. The University has experienced a gain in undergraduate enrollment, but it was offset by a decline in graduate enrollment that Mileur said has been affected by a weak economy and the floods of September.
“We get a lot more money from the state for each graduate student than we do for undergraduates,” he said. “If we miss a graduate target by one student, we have to recruit a minimum of two undergraduates to make that up financially on the state side. It’s not as much an enrollment issue as it is a funding issue.”
The University continues to attract high-quality students: The freshman average SAT score rose for the fifth year in a row to an all-time high of 1305. The average high school GPA is 94, Mileur said.
“Essentially, our incoming freshmen are ‘A’ students in high school,” he said.
Other highlights from Mileur’s report included:
• Applications rose to 28,024 in 2011, while campus visit soared to a new high: 34,257. “That’s a very important indicator of level of interest,” Mileur said. “We need people to visit (the University) in order to make them understand how much we have to offer.”
• Fifty-five percent of incoming freshmen are white; 18 percent are Asian; 12 percent are Hispanic; and 6 percent are African American. Mileur said the University would like to see the latter percentage increase, although it has remained steady.
• While 49 percent of incoming freshmen/transfers are from New York City/Long Island/Westchester-Rockland, upstate students make up 28 percent of the class. Mileur predicted that the percentage could rise to 40 percent in the future.
• Transfer students are coming to the University with a 3.4 GPA.
Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Rose also delivered a report to council members that focused on University housing.
The East Campus Housing project is scheduled for completion in fall 2013, when the Dickinson Community opens, Rose said. The project will increase the number of campus beds from 6, 597 to 7,507.
Rose stressed that the University must continue to invest in its residential communities.
“One of the things we have to pay attention to is what else do we add to the residential living experience to make it attractive to students?” he said. “The advantages we have are grounds: What do you do with that land to make the housing amenities more attractive?”
One idea is to maintain and restore some of the sports and recreation areas that are part of the residential communities, Rose said, such as sand volleyball and basketball courts.
New features such as disc golf courses and wiffleball fields could be adapted, too, he said.
“Those kinds of projects don’t cost a lot of money and provide an opportunity for students to do something on campus,” he said. “One of the things I learned growing up with a motel and cabin business is my grandfather always said, ‘You’ve got to add something every year because you depend on repeat customers and they want to see something new.’ We are trying to take the same approach with our residence halls. We too depend on repeat customers and you want to show that you are making investments.”
Those investments will also take place inside of the residence halls, as more flexible furniture designs, study space and printing stations are considered, Rose said. The inside changes show that the residential communities are part of the University’s academic program, he said.
The University and Student Affairs also are becoming more aggressive in their marketing to parents and students through parent newsletters that contain relevant and timely information and videos that showcase each residential community.
“We’re paying attention to not only what we offer from a physical point of view, but also how we talk about it and market it,” Rose said. “We are trying to stay modern and competitive with the off-campus community.”