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September 19, 2023

Enrollment down 1.9%, academic standards raised

This year, the University raised its academic acceptance standards, resulting in a lower amount of enrolled students.

The change was strategic and meant to improve the quality of students coming to the University, said Gary Swegan, director of Admissions.

“This is the best freshman class based on test score and grade point we’ve ever had at BG,” Swegan said.

The reason for the change is two-fold, Swegan said.

“One, bringing in more quality freshmen will lead to better retention and graduation rates,” he said. “And the state changed the funding formula, now it’s rewarding universities for completion and graduation.”

The average grade point average of the incoming freshman class this year was 3.31, and the average ACT score this year was 22.6.

These stats are due to the University accepting 160 less applicants with low ACT scores, to recruit students with a 24 or higher on their ACT, Swegan said, according to an article in the Aug. 23 issue of The BG News.

While the increase in incoming students’ ACT and GPA probably won’t be as drastic next fall, the University’s goal during a four-year period is to increase incoming students’ ACT to at least a 23 or 24, Swegan said.

As far as increasing the enrollment numbers for next year’s freshman class, Swegan said he thinks enrollment numbers will stabilize as students adjust to the University’s higher standards.

“I expect we’ll be able to move back in an upward trajectory,” he said.

The University isn’t just raising it’s standards for incoming freshmen, it’s also doing things to make the University more attractive to a higher “quality” of students.

During the summer, the Board of Trustees approved changing the honors program to the honors college to make it more attractive to incoming students.

“Creation of an honors college … should make BGSU more and more attractive,” said Joseph Frizado, vice president of academic operations.

The distinction means the program will have more structure and more access to resources.

There are still opportunities for students who didn’t make the cut academically, said David Kielmeyer, University spokesperson.

Students can go to community college for a few years and then transfer, he said.

The higher standards affected enrollment, as according to the eight-day numbers. Enrollment is down 1.9 percent from fall 2012. About 14,500 students are enrolled so far this year, and 14,826 enrolled on the 15th day of classes in 2012.

In addition to overall enrollment being down, so was enrollment of multicultural students, Swegan said.

The percent of incoming multicultural students is just under 20 percent, and it was 21 percent this past year, Swegan said.

“We were delighted with where we came in, we expected the impact to be greater,” he said.

Not only are there less students on campus, less students means less credit hours taken and paid for.

The reduction in credit hours has an immediate financial impact on the University, Frizado said.

“Only a portion of our support is from the state, the majority is from tuition,” he said.

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