Size of 2006 freshman class is ideal for campus community

This fall’s freshman class of 3,660 students is already ahead of last year’s class.

These numbers make the 2006 freshman class six students above last year’s, but second to the 2004 class of 3,929.

“With the size and the residential nature of the campus this is an ideal class size to keep the intimacy of a smaller campus and still be able to offer the resources of a larger campus,” University president Sidney Ribeau said.

Gary Swegan, director of admissions, said BGSU has been on a upward swing in enrollment going against the trend of other universities.

“We are pretty pleased where we are at this point,” Swegan said.

The enrollment figure of 3,660 combined with the 640 transfer students coming to the University will put BGSU at the target figure of 4,300 new freshman and transfer students coming to the campus.

Swegan said the target figure determined through an enrollment plan designed by the Provosts Office in collaboration with Ribeau. They decide what they would like the enrollment figure for the fall class to be based on graduation rates and the number of students anticipated to return to campus.

But Ribeau said if the decline in government funding to public universities continues he has real concerns about class size.

“In 2008 we may not be able to keep the class size we have now,” he said. “We raise private funds and do inventive things to generate funds but the decreased support from state government is the reason tuition has gone up in all state institutions.”

Swegan said once enrollment figures get too high any school would have problems handling the volume of students such as with class room space, housing and dining halls.

The 2006 class also has a higher percentage of minority students then last year’s class. It is anticipated that 20 percent of the freshman class, or 750 students, will be minority students compared to 19 percent last year.

This is a record for BGSU along with the number of out-of-state students, which is expected to be 550 students, or 15 percent, of the freshman class, Swegan said.

The increase in out-of-state students could be due to a scholarship program the school instituted in 2004, he said.

It started out as the Michigan Success Scholarship and offered 50 percent off out-of-state tuition fees to qualified candidates from Michigan to enroll at BGSU.

“This program more than doubled the number of students from Michigan,” Swegan said.

In December, approval was given to make this scholarship available to any student from any of the other 49 states and the name was changed to the BG Success Scholarship.

The full impact of this new program will not be known until 2007.

What is known is that all students are welcome back by Ribeau for a new academic year at BG.

“We are actively anticipating a new academic year. We welcome all of the new and returning students. We strive to create a environment where each student can achieve their academic goals and experience personal growth,” Ribeau said.