ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The ability to convert more prospective students into applicants helped St. Bonaventure University (SBU) surpass its target goal of 525 freshmen for the incoming fall 2007 class.
Improvements to the campus – from a new café to residence hall renovations to upcoming completion of the science center – are all being credited with increased applicant interest.
By the end of July, 548 students had committed to attend SBU this fall with tuition deposits, said Mary Piccioli, dean of enrollment. Traditional “summer melt” — when a few students change their minds and attend other schools — will likely cause the class size to dip slightly, but not enough to cause it to drop below the goal of 525 established last summer.
“Thanks to the tireless work of the admissions team, we were able to hit our goal and go past it,” Piccioli said. “The big key was converting more prospects into applicants. Our applications increased 17 percent (from 2006).”
Even if the class size happened to erode all the way back to 525, that figure would represent a 14 percent increase from the size of the fall 2006 freshman class, Piccioli said.
Piccioli also cited the increasing popularity of SBU’s dual-admission program, offering students unique opportunities in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and physical therapy.
The class is also significantly more diverse than the class that just graduated in May, Piccioli said. “More than 12 percent identified themselves as minorities, where the incoming class of 2003 was only 6 percent,” she said. “That’s something we’re very happy about.”
The largest segments of that incoming minority population are African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American.
“As a university that relies on tuition revenue to balance the budget, it was important to us to meet our goal this year,” said F. Edward Coughlin, St. Bonaventure’s vice president for the Franciscan Mission