Cornell welcomes most diverse freshman class

By: Daniel Aloi,  Cornell Chronicle
August 19, 2015

First-year students arriving on campus this week are members of Cornell’s most racially diverse incoming freshman class since the university began keeping records on race in the early 1980s.

Of the 3,219 students in the Class of 2019 enrolling this fall, a record number are students of color – 1,488, or 46.2 percent; and a record number of freshmen self-identify as underrepresented minority students – 756, or 23.5 percent. The class also includes 427 freshmen who are the first in their families to attend college.

With 523 transfers from other institutions, there will be 3,742 new Cornell undergraduates on campus this fall. Among the subset of transfer students, 31 percent are students of color and 19 percent are first-generation students.

An additional 125 freshmen will enter Cornell in January 2016 through the inaugural First-Year Spring Admission Program. The Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Human Ecology, and the School of Hotel Administration will enroll students through the program.

“Our incoming freshmen and transfer students have proven academic talents, intellectual curiosity and leadership skills that will enrich Cornell,” said Barbara A. Knuth, senior vice provost and dean of the Graduate School. “I congratulate them all and welcome them to the Cornell community, and encourage them to take full advantage of the range of opportunities and experiences Cornell offers.”

Jason C. Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment, said: “The composition of this freshman class reflects not only the student population becoming more diverse, but also our campuswide efforts to engage with our admitted students, to have an impact on how they feel about Cornell, and to inspire them to join our community.”

Cornell received 41,900 applications for freshman admission this year and made offers of admission to 6,315 applicants in March. The overall admit rate was 15.1 percent, making this the second-most selective freshman class ever. The university set all-time records in 2014 in number of applications and admit rate.

Students enrolling come from 48 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Members of the Class of 2019 hail from 44 countries based on citizenship.

For freshmen receiving financial aid, the average need-based grant award from Cornell sources increased significantly this year, Locke said. The average grant for freshmen was $37,392, up from $35,735 in 2014.

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