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Freshmen class reshapes gender, racial trends

September 23, 2011

UW-River Falls is continuing to enroll students. Tynan Heller, the IR data analyst, said that he anticipates being close to last year’s enrollment official count of 6,900 undergraduate and graduate students.

The 6,900 students enrolled during fall 2011 is the highest number in the institutions history, according to the UWRF website.

Mark Meydam, the director of admissions, said that there are 1,000 fewer students who graduated high school this year than there were last year. However, UWRF is still maintaining enrollment and incoming freshmen numbers. The preliminary numbers show that there are 454 new transfer students at UWRF this fall compared to the 461 last year. There are 1,235 freshmen enrolled this fall and there were 1,245 last year. Numbers are likely to be higher within the next couple weeks once numbers are finalized, Meydam added. UWRF is fortunate to have students who bring diversity to our campus and increasing are students of color.

“There is a jump of students of color,” said Meydam, “Well over 10 percent of students are students of color, which is a cool thing.”

Meydam also talked about the breakdown of students coming to UWRF from Minnesota or Wisconsin. There have been more students from Wisconsin than Minnesota since 1990, until last year, when 51.81 percent of students were from Minnesota and 46.91 percent were from Wisconsin. Again, Meydam anticipates the numbers to be similar to last year once the final numbers are in. Scott Duex, the director of residence life and student rights and responsibilities, said there is a shift in gender for admitted students this year, and it is a reflection of the 53 males currently in extended housing.

There is space currently available for women in the dorms, Duex added. Freshman Mike Sandle from Eden Prairie, Minnesota is currently in extended housing.

“You have to move twice, into extended and into your final dorm,” said Sandle. “It’s kind of awkward and you are kind of cramped and personal space becomes an issue.”

Duex said that in Fall 2009, the university had 50 female students living in a hotel due to a lack of extended housing. Duex said this is the only time the university had to send extended housing students to an alternative location other than the dorms.

Heller, referring to data, shows that graduation rates for fifth year students are at 48.2 percent from fall 2005. This includes students who start at UWRF their freshmen year and graduate from this institution five years later. For sixth year students, the graduation rate is at 59.5 percent for fall 2004.

This datum shows that 80 percent of students return to UWRF after their first year. There is a larger drop after their second year and that maintains throughout their third with between 63 and 68 percent of students returning. UWRF is maintaining enrollment at a high number for having 1,000 fewer graduates from the two main states of student enrollment. The campus is becoming more diverse with continuing numbers.