The University of North Dakota continues to attract and enroll a more diverse and academically-prepared student body.
As of Sept. 19, the official census day for the fall semester, UND has once again enrolled its most ethnically diverse and academically-prepared freshman class, based on average high school GPA (grade point average) and ACT scores. With an average high school GPA of 3.46 and average ACT score of 24.0, this year’s freshman class exceeded last fall’s, which touted a then-record 3.42 GPA and 24.0 ACT average. This compares with a 3.33 GPA and 23.5 ACT average only four years ago for the fall 2012 entering class.
This is the fourth consecutive year with an increase in average freshman GPA. The average freshman ACT score has been stable or increased over the past five years. The freshman class, the largest since 2012, enrolled 1,928 new students this fall. This is also UND’s most diverse group of incoming freshmen, as 10.8 percent of the incoming freshman class reported as an ethnicity other than white/caucasian, another all-time high in UND’s long history, and a 14.8 percent increase over last fall.
The quality of the incoming class is also represented in the number of new students receiving UND’s top academic scholarships. Compared with last year, UND enrolled 52 more Presidential Scholars (221 compared with 169). These scholars must have at least a 3.65 high school GPA and 29 ACT score. Further, UND also saw an increase in enrollment for the other top merit scholarship, the Academic Achievement award (460 compared with 410 last fall), which requires more than a 3.5 high school GPA and 25 ACT score. In total, 51 percent of UND’s enrolled freshman class had a high school GPA above 3.5.
Overall, total enrollment remained stable with 14,648 students, a slight decrease (2 percent) from last fall’s final enrollment of 14,951. The decrease is attributed to the University’s focus on quality, the elimination of several programs due to budget reductions, increasing graduation rates (up to 55 percent from 54 percent last fall in six-year graduation rate; up to 28 percent from 26 percent last fall in four-year graduation rate) paired with larger graduating classes.
“We decided several years ago to focus more on increasing the quality of students attending UND. As such, we anticipated having a dip in enrollment as the larger classes graduated and smaller, yet stronger academic, classes enrolled,” noted Thomas DiLorenzo, provost and vice president of academic affairs.
“You’re faced with a decision of being the biggest or the best,” said President Mark Kennedy. “My goal is to have UND be the best. I am pleased that every year we attract an increasingly more diverse and better-prepared freshman class, as the upswing in overall GPA suggests. Recruiting top-notch students helps us continue to be the premier flagship University in the Northern Plains.”
Kennedy noted that recruiting increasingly better-prepared new students will help UND meet expectations for increasing retention and graduation rates. The quality of last year’s freshmen, along with deliberate initiatives centered on student success, helped UND retain 80 percent of those students this fall. This focus on quality and student success has resulted in the third consecutive year with first-year retention rates at 80 percent or higher.
Graduate and professional student enrollment is up slightly over last fall. Official graduate enrollment was 2,872 students (up 10 students over last fall), with 2,066 enrolled in master’s programs, 646 enrolled in doctorate programs and another 160 enrolled in special programs. The Law School has enrolled 230 students (up 8 students over last fall), while the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has enrolled 291 medical students (up 1 student).
Fall 2016 Enrollment Facts (All Students)
- 14,648 total students, down 2 percent
- 11,255 undergraduate students, down 2.8 percent
- 2,872 graduate students, up 10 students (.3 percent)
- 2066 Master’s students, up 4 students (.2 percent)
- 646 Doctorate students, down 11 students (1.4 percent)
- 230 Law students, up 8 students (3.6 percent)
- 291 Medical students, up 1 student (.3 percent)
- 42 percent North Dakota residents, 34 percent Minnesota residents, 17 percent other states, 7 percent international
- 80 percent first-year retention rate, down 1 percent
- 28 percent four-year graduation rate, up 2 percent
- 55 percent six-year graduation rate, up 1 percent
- 5,312 are enrolled in at least one distance or online course, up 1 percent
- 3,346 are enrolled in only distance-education courses, up 1.9 percent
Fall 2016 Enrollment Facts (New Freshmen)
- 1,928 new freshmen students, up 1.4 percent
- 3.46 average high school GPA, up from 3.42
- 24.0 average ACT composite score, equal to last year, which was an increase from the year before
- 221 Presidential Scholars, up 30.8 percent
- 51 percent with 3.5 high school GPA or above
- 209 minority students, up 14.8 percent