Colorado State’s Largest Freshman Class Ever Sets New Standard for Ethnic, Geographic Diversity

The largest freshman class ever at Colorado State University has helped push enrollment to an all-time high of 26,735 students this fall. This is the third consecutive year of record enrollment at CSU and comes on the heels of record-high research expenditures of $330 million, a 47 percent increase in private gift fundraising and the second-most prolific fundraising year in the history of the university. Several recent top accolades and rankings also contribute to the good news.

A total of 6,077 entering freshmen and transfers have joined the campus, including 19 percent more non-residents than last year. This includes a record 4,504 new freshmen with 852 racially and ethnically diverse freshmen (a 15 percent increase over last year), and 1,043 domestic and international non-residents. The total enrollment of 26,735 represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year.

“Colorado State continues to grow in size and stature through our strong commitment to providing a high-quality undergraduate education,” said President Tony Frank. “We are particularly proud to be welcoming a record number of diverse and first-generation students to the most academically qualified freshman class in CSU history.”

For the freshman class, the overall average GPA of 3.59 and average ACT composite of 24.7 set a new mark for CSU’s strongest academic profile. More than 800 incoming freshmen arrived with a high school GPA of 4.0 or higher.

The freshman class includes 3,461 Colorado residents, the largest number of new Colorado freshmen at any campus in the state. Non-resident freshman enrollment rose by 12 percent to an all-time high of 1,043, including students from 48 other states and 25 countries. The non-resident average 3.63 GPA and 25.8 ACT are both records.

“The caliber of the out-of-state students choosing to attend Colorado State continues to rise,” said Executive Director of Admissions Jim Rawlins. “Bringing our largest-ever group of students from outside Colorado is a promising indicator of the value students nationwide see in the experience Colorado State can provide. It also enriches the geographic diversity of the campus for our in-state students and fosters the different perspectives we want to provide. It is vital to note that we have accomplished this increase while still maintaining access for in-state students.”

The 852 racially and ethnically diverse freshmen make up 18.9 percent of the class, or 15 percent more than last year’s total of 738 students. They include a record 671 graduates of Colorado high schools from 35 different counties. Ninety-nine of these students identify themselves as Native American or Alaska Native, 173 as Asian American, 179 as African American, 476 as Latino/Hispanic, and 28 as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. (These figures add up to more than 852 because of students who identify themselves as belonging to more than one racial/ethnic group.)

This year’s incoming class includes Colorado residents from 52 counties, including roughly 2,000 from high schools in the seven-county Denver metropolitan area. Non-resident students come from 48 additional states and the District of Columbia. Seventy-two of the freshmen are from abroad, representing 25 different countries.

Nearly one in four new freshmen will be the first in their family to earn a college degree. Colorado State’s incoming class of 840 Pell-eligible, low-income Colorado residents (24.3 percent of incoming residents) represents a 5 percent increase from the previous year. In light of the Commitment to Colorado program that took effect this fall, an additional 124 freshmen above Pell but at or below the state median income will have at least half their tuition costs covered. Overall, 4,054 CSU undergraduates will benefit from Commitment to Colorado.

Colorado State’s incoming transfer student class of 1,573 is the largest in eight years, up 26 percent from just three years ago. Colorado residents account for 1,190 of the cohort. The 151-student increase includes 31 Colorado residents, 71 non-residents and 49 international students. Among racially and ethnically diverse students, new transfer enrollment increased to 217, up 20 percent from 2010 and up 44 percent from 2009.