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On May 12, we held Commencement exercises and celebrated the Class of 2018. I want to begin by asking that you join me in congratulating the newest members of the Lycoming College alumni body. Like our alumni body more broadly, they are a highly accomplished group.
This month, however, I am very pleased to share positive news about the Class of 2022 that we just enrolled. In a year when many colleges in the northeast and middle Atlantic are experiencing difficult admission years, we have succeeded in growing applications by 25 percent, enrolling one of the larger classes in the past decade, and maintained our improved selectivity.
As of this date, 361 new students have submitted deposits. This success was made possible by a concerted effort that produced more than 2,500 applications, as compared to just under 2,000 applications in 2016 and 2017. Based upon prior years, we anticipate that 370 to 375 new students will eventually join us in the fall — a number that has been exceeded only twice in the past decade.
It is also encouraging that the surge in applications and the strong enrollment have been evident in most of the important segments of our enrollment pool. Applications through our partnerships with high-performing charter schools and proven access organizations grew by more than 200 students and we will enroll about 45 students from this segment. International applications increased by 100 students and the 30 deposits from the group represent more than 9 percent of the entering class. Finally, applications from non-partnership domestic students also grew by more than 200 students and we have enrolled about 265 students from this segment.
Also notable is a significant improvement in applications and deposits from females. After several years of disappointing results, we have increased female deposits by more than 50 students and women are likely to compose nearly 60 percent of the new class. Furthermore, we have experienced a rebound in Pennsylvania and in the number of recruited student athletes, with football, men’s and women’s soccer having particularly strong years.
This growth in applications has allowed the College to improve its selectivity — a variable that is considered a quality measure in higher education. This year, the admit rate for all freshman applicants will be 65 percent, which compares to 72 percent five years ago. Becoming more selective helps to improve the College’s ranking.
For the third year in a row, the incoming Class of 2022 will be highly diverse. More than 30 percent are domestic students of color and the percentage of international students now exceeds 8 percent of the class. Pennsylvania students are well represented, but 50 percent of incoming students will again come from outside of Pennsylvania, including 19 states and Washington, D.C. The countries of Canada, China, El Salvador, India, Japan, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sweden, and Vietnam are also represented in the class. We are clearly solidifying our position as a college with a national and global footprint.
I see this strong admissions year as driven by the investments that the College has made in new academic programs, facilities, and financial aid. In 2016, we opened our Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences with its focus on internship, study abroad, and research with faculty. We have also added new academic programs in neuroscience, astrophysics, biochemistry, and entrepreneurship and a student life program in Outdoor Leadership & Education. The centerpiece of our investment in facilities has been the Lynn Science Center, but by the fall of 2018, five residence halls will have been substantially renovated. In addition, the College has committed to affordability by increasing the financial aid budget from $23 million to $32 million. In turn, these investments have driven Improved rankings — inclusion for the first time in the Princeton Review’s “The Best 382 Colleges” and significant rises both the U.S. News & World Report and Washington Monthly rankings, which has also had a salutary impact on our market position.
While we are pleased with the results for 2018, we also know that we cannot rest in our efforts to build a “Greater Lycoming.” Next month, we will hold a summit with our enrollment management consultants to add to and refine our marketing program and tactics. In addition, as you will see elsewhere in this newsletter, the trustees have authorized construction of the Gateway Building and this decision has set in motion an ambitious revitalization of the east end of Williamsport in partnership with the City, County, and private developers. Our next strategic plan will contemplate more curricular innovation, facilities improvements, and growth of endowed and current use scholarships. I look forward to working with you, our devoted alumni, as we continue to dare to dream and dare to do.
Kent C. Trachte, Ph.D., is the 15th president of Lycoming College.