New Cardinals take part in orientation over the summer.
New Cardinals take part in orientation over the summer.

A snapshot of UofL’s incoming 2018 freshman class shows a pretty picture.

Although the numbers are preliminary, it is clear that the incoming class is large, diverse and represents a growing number of out-of-state students.

Of the nearly 2,800 incoming students, 22 percent are from outside Kentucky. Administrators believe that may be the highest percentage of out-of-state freshmen in university history.

“Attracting students beyond Kentucky is a trend we’ve been seeing for years,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi. “It’s gratifying to know that students from near and far are choosing our university. This will be my first incoming class. I’ve been counting down the days until the fall semester begins.”

Here’s a snapshot of the incoming class:

  • 55 percent have some college credits
  • 15 percent are African American
  • 6 percent are Hispanic/Latino
  • 73 percent will live on campus
  • 16 percent are first-generation college students
  • 25.6 is the average ACT score, well above the 2017 Kentucky average of 20
  • 3.6 is the average high school grade-point average, based on a 4.0 scale
  • 78 percent are Kentucky residents
  • 22 percent are from out of state
  • 12 foreign countries are represented
  • Engineering, biology, business, education and nursing are the five most popular majors.

The fall semester also marks a new record for the J. B. Speed School of Engineering: its largest incoming class ever. Speed expects 521 first-year, full-time engineering students, a significant jump over last year’s 472 first-year, full-time students.

“We’re seeing the fruits of our outreach and recruiting efforts,” said Gail DePuy, associate dean of academic and student affairs for the Speed School. “For years now, we’ve been going into schools and the community to tutor, offer hands-on activities and spread the word about engineering.”

DePuy estimates that Speed School enrollment is up by more than 40 percent in the past five years. She credits the university’s recruiting efforts as well as nation-wide trends and attitudes that highlight engineering as a good career choice.

“You can do anything with an engineering degree,” she said. “If you want a job, you’ve got a job, and a good one at that.”

Jim Begany, vice provost for enrollment management and student success, said his enrollment team was pleased to see positive trends in overall growth, academic preparedness and diversity.

“The class is 5 percent larger than the previous year. Plus, the ACT scores and high school GPAs continue to tick upward,” said Begany. “Those are trends we like to see.”

As part of the university’s ongoing efforts to boost enrollment and improve college affordability, Begany said the university also launched a new need-based scholarship program specifically for Kentucky students. The grant provides $3,000 per academic year as long as the student continues to qualify. UofL has awarded the grant to 670 students so far this year.