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Drexel University Freshman Applications Increase a Record 27 Percent over Last Year

February 21, 2008

As high school students around the country wait to hear if they have been accepted to their college of choice, Drexel University announced a record-level of applications for fall 2008. Freshman applications rose 27 percent making Drexel a choice for more than 24,186 high school students. The University will admit 2,500 freshmen in September 2008.

Building on 10 years of continuous growth in application and enrollment numbers, Drexel has emerged as one of the hottest schools in Greater Philadelphia, which has 83 colleges and universities.

As demand for Drexel increases, so has the academic caliber of students who apply. Drexel students are among the most academically talented in the University’s history. The 2007 incoming class comprised 2,368 students from 1,321 of the nation’s most competitive secondary schools and had an average G.P.A of 3.5 and a mean SAT score of 1200.

According to Joan McDonald, vice president for Enrollment Management at Drexel, several factors have contributed to enrollment upturn. A key factor is that Drexel over the past decade has evolved from a strong regional undergraduate institution, with some graduate programs, into a comprehensive national research university. “Our academic expansion has paralleled an impressive growth in our student population,” McDonald said.

Since 1995, Drexel’s enrollment more than doubled. The University also opened the Schools of Education and Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems (1997), acquired the Drexel University College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Professions and School of Public Health (2002), and founded a College of Law (2006).

“In just one decade, Drexel has transitioned from a mid-level regional school to a top-tier, nationally ranked, comprehensive university,” said McDonald.

Fall 2007 marked a milestone with a full-time undergraduate enrollment of 13,197. While universities typically experience a growth in enrollment during some years and a decline in others, Drexel’s overall enrollment has been climbing each year for the past decade. In 1995, total enrollment was 9,021 students. By 2002, Drexel had 16,345 students. In 2007, 20,685 students were enrolled.

Drexel is in high demand in part because it is affordable and accessible, according to McDonald. It is popular with students who come from a range of financial backgrounds. Of undergraduates who applied for financial aid last year, 2,412 are from families earning less than $60,000 annually, 2,406 from families earning $60,000 to $109,000 and 2,473 from families earning more than $109,000.

About $108 million in financial aid was provided to 70 percent of undergraduates in the current academic year. The federally based Pell Grant supported 2,024 of Drexel’s neediest students — about four times as many as Harvard, Yale and Lehigh and about twice as many as Penn. Salaries students earn from cooperative education experiences also help defray educational expenses.

Through cooperative education at Drexel, students “learn by doing,” alternating periods of classroom study with periods of off-campus, full-time professional-level employment in positions aligned with their academic interests.

“Co-op not only helps make higher education more affordable for students, it offers them the opportunity to test their choice of study and their career path through 18 months in the workforce prior to graduation” said McDonald.

Ten years ago, only five percent of Drexel students were from states beyond New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Thirty percent of Drexel’s 2007 incoming class came from 48 states and 46 countries.

Specific programs at Drexel that are gaining national recognition include those in the Health Sciences, the College of Medicine and the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Drexel has traditionally been strong in the areas of engineering and business. Among the programs receiving the most interest at Drexel are the music industry program, for which the University has 528 applications for 55 seats and the B.S./M.D. program, which has hundreds of applicants for 25 seats. Other majors in demand are biology, architecture, fashion design and nursing.

Since schools such as the College of Law and Drexel University College of Medicine added to Drexel’s appeal, graduate applications and enrollment also increased. Over the past five years, master’s degree enrollment rose 92 percent, with a 57 percent increase in doctoral attendance. In 2007, 282 students were seeking a juris doctor, while 1,070 were pursuing a doctor of medicine degree.

Although Drexel is hot, McDonald and her group are already planning to increase the number of applications to 100,000 by fall 2012.

“We will continue to increase the overall quality of our students, raise the national profile of the University and increase yield and retention rates at all levels,” said McDonald.

### News Media Contact: Niki Gianakaris, Assistant Director, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell) or ngianakaris@drexel.edu

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