Incoming class sets UO records for academic preparedness, diversity

EUGENE, Ore. -- (Sept. 30, 2013) – Approximately 2,800 new students from the state of Oregon, as well as students from every state in the U.S. and from nearly 100 countries around the world, begin fall term classes today at the University of Oregon. Total enrollment is estimated at 24,000, consistent with last year as a strategic decision to maintain quality of the educational experience for students.

This fall, more high-achieving Oregonians are joining the UO community. For the first time in University of Oregon history, the incoming freshmen have an average high school GPA of 3.6 and their average SAT and ACT scores set a new UO record. The freshmen class is also breaking records in the number of Pell-eligible Oregonians and freshmen students of color.

The UO made admission to the UO more accessible and affordable than ever for high-performing students. Financial aid programs were restructured to create Summit and Apex scholarships, producing a 75 percent overall increase in aid to Oregonians—approximately $2.8 million for each incoming class.

“The new configuration of our merit-based scholarships will not only increase the number of top Oregon students attending the UO, but also makes the scholarship award process more transparent and easily understood for students and parents,” said Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management.

Oregon's highest-achieving scholars are eligible for as much as $20,000 in financial aid over four years with the Summit Scholarship or $12,000 over four years with the Apex Scholarships.

UO's Stamps Scholarship, the most generous and prestigious undergraduate scholarship for Oregonians – funded by the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation and the UO – will be awarded to a total of 20 students over four years, with a value of about $90,000 per student. The first five recipients begin this fall.

“At the UO, we clearly want Oregon's best and brightest, and we do not want financial need to stand in the way,” said Thompson.  

The UO awarded $3.9 million in aid from the four most-used scholarship programs to Oregonians in this year's freshman class—a 60 percent increase over last year. Freshmen from the Portland metro area have been awarded approximately $2 million for the upcoming year, which represents an increase of 98.5 percent.

Additionally, 37 percent of this fall's incoming freshmen from Oregon will be eligible for federal Pell Grants, which are intended for students from lower-income households.

Oregonians who are Pell Grant-eligible and meet academic standards can be served by the UO's PathwayOregon program, which covers all tuition and fees for qualified Oregon students and offers academic support services. PathwayOregon, now in its sixth year, served nearly 1,550 students last year and will add about 535 freshmen this fall—up from last year's freshmen cohort of 400.

The entering class offers both socio-economic and ethnic diversity. The number of freshmen students of color is 26.9 percent, which surpassed that of the state (21.3 percent) for the second consecutive year. Another 10 percent of incoming freshmen are international students, adding to a strong cultural mix and vibrant atmosphere for learning.

“We have an outstanding group of the best and brightest young minds in Oregon enrolling at the UO, and they will soar as they complete their degrees on our campus," said Thompson.

Final enrollment data will be made available after week four of classes by Oregon University System.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Brown, UO communications, 541-346-3185, julbrown@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with a point-of-origin Vyvx connection, which provides broadcast-quality video to networks worldwide via fiber optic network. In addition, there is video access to satellite uplink, and audio access to an ISDN codec for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

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First day of fall term, Sept. 30, 2013