Marissa Filletti, Staff Writer
The tuition reset was the “bold move” heard across the nation, giving new hope to students who once thought a college education was simply out of their financial reach. So now months later, what exactly does this surge of prospective students look like?
Jeffery Gates, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Utica College, has the numbers to help the UC community size up what to expect come this fall.
“We have had a steady eight to 10 percent increase in applications all season,” Gates said. “Right now we have 5,086 freshman applicants, a 51 percent increase from just two years ago at this time when we had just 3,368 freshman applicants.”
As the interest in UC continues to grow like never before, students are not waiting to secure their spot.
“Enrollment deposits are up 54 percent from last year, which is extremely exciting for us,” Gates said. “Normally, we accept deposits throughout the summer because we know, unfortunately, some people won’t end up coming. But this year, we are way ahead. Students aren’t waiting for that May 1 deposit deadline. More students have made that deposit commitment than ever before and that speaks volumes.”
Although there has been a dramatic increase in applications, Gates assures that the number of students expected to be admitted this year will not likely surpass last year’s numbers.
“Everyone knows that last year we had a record number of applications, record quality, record incoming freshman class,” Gates said. “But what people don’t know, is we were researching and planning for the tuition reset for about two years. So, we were changing our practices as far of admissions and recruiting for what we knew was coming down the road. We are thrilled with our numbers right now and are looking to keep this year’s incoming freshman class roughly around the same as last year’s, between 625 and 645 students.”
Gates adds that they know exactly how many students our faculty and facilities can accommodate at this point and in order for the reset to be successful, they cannot push these limits.
“As we continue to take steps to move some of our business programs to the Clark City Center in downtown Utica, that may free-up some space here on campus for faculty offices and classroom space,” Gates said. “However, we are waiting to see how that pans out. We want to make sure we are familiar with the flow of students from the main campus to the downtown campus before we start expanding any further.”
With this new wave of people who can now financially consider UC, the qualifications for acceptance bar have been set a bit higher.
“We have definitely heightened the criteria for admission,” Gates said. “Even for our more competitive programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and nursing, we need to become more and more selective every year. However, we want to make sure we continue to look at our applicants holistically and understand that a test score and a G.P.A. is not the measure of a person.”
Price continues to be a huge consideration in the college decision-making process, but Gates still stresses all that UC has to offer its students.
“I tell prospective students all the time, ‘college is the largest investment you are ever going to make.’ This experience will stay with students for the rest of their lives. The personal, one-on-one, individualized experience they get at Utica College is the foundation for a lifetime of learning,” Gates said.