UI freshman numbers in; it's a bigger, brighter class

UI freshman numbers in; it's a bigger, brighter class

The University of Illinois freshman class this fall is bigger and brighter.

The university welcomed 7,299 freshmen to campus at the start of the semester. That's 350 more freshmen than last fall.

"The good news is that the academic profile keeps getting stronger while we have admitted the most diverse undergraduate class in the Big Ten," Chancellor Richard Herman said Thursday.

The average ACT score of freshmen rose to 28, up from 27.9. This was the first year the average ACT score hit that level, Herman said.

The average high school rank of incoming freshmen also rose. And the number of students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class is up from 54.7 percent to 55.1 percent.

Out-of-state and international students make up a little more 17 percent of the freshmen class: 6,026 freshmen are Illinois residents, 559 are out-of-state students and 714 are international students.

Blacks make up 7.2 percent of the freshmen class, the same as 2007. Hispanics are at 6.9 percent, down from 7.4 percent in 2007, and Asians made up 14.4 percent of the freshman class, up from 14 percent in 2007.

Also up is total enrollment for the Urbana campus. Preliminary data have the student population at 41,892. That's up 16 percent, or 5,873 students over the last 10 years.

Asked if the university is growing too big, Herman said, "I worry about that all the time; how big can we be?"

The university is working to ensure there are enough teaching assistants and there are enough classes with fewer than 20 students, he said.

The freshman class is "slightly larger than we anticipated," but Herman said the number of high school graduates has been on the rise "and it's important we're able to accommodate the increase in the number of students and the increasing talent."

Enrollment for all freshmen in the UI system, including the Chicago and Springfield campuses is 10,576. The total student population is 70,195.