The target number of 620 students for the class of 2021 has been reached. However, the total number of incoming first-years can still fluctuate over the summer.
“We actually, as of this moment, we just had one more deposit, and we are at 620,” Cindy Babington, chief of staff and interim vice president of enrollment, said.
The incoming class is DePauw University’s largest in the past four years. The enrollment number for the current first-year, sophomore, junior and senior classes are 559, 546, 459 and 540, respectively.
Furthermore, there was an increase in international student enrollment with 15 percent making up the class of 2021. Additionally, 22 percent of students are domestic students of color, 18 percent of the incoming class are first generation students and 17 percent are legacy students, all of which is on par with past class statistics. 52 percent of the class of 2021 are females while 48 percent are males.
Despite achieving its enrollment goal, DePauw still pays a price with its discount rate. The discount rate is the amount of money students pay the University after merit scholarships and financial aid are applied. Brad Kelsheimer, senior vice president for finance and administration, was unable to be interviewed, but he did write in an email that “early results suggest that enrollment numbers are better than expected. From a financial perspective, however, we were very generous in awarding financial aid and the level of net tuition that we are likely to generate will leave our budget extremely challenged.”
However, the tuition discount numbers have not been finalized yet, according to Babington.
President Mark McCoy addressed the issue of an increasing discount rate at the February faculty meeting. “This year we had a needier class and we helped that class. These were students that couldn’t afford to come to DePauw if we didn’t help them and so we’ve invested in our students. That’s a logical place to spend money,” said President McCoy.
While it is an accomplishment to reach 620 students, DePauw has originally tried to recruit 650 students for the past several years. The number was eventually lowered to 620 for the class of 2021 because it was more attainable. “I think that [lowering the number] was just being more realistic from not actually having gotten the 650 for a number of years. I wasn’t actually part of setting that goal, that was the VP that was here before me, but my sense is that you need to have a realistic goal,” said Babington.
However, Babington hopes that enrollment numbers will increase with the new institution-wide marketing campaign. Earlier this semester, reputation strategy company Dartlet announced that it was found that 43 percent of people polled had zero familiarity with DePauw in the University’s four main recruiting areas: Indianapolis, IN, Fort Wayne, IN, Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO. To combat this issue, Babington said that admissions tried to be more proactive with communication to prospective students as well as create more targeted visits.
DePauw University offers a lot to students in some aspects while some of its qualities deter students from putting down a deposit.
Robert and Thomas Krauss from Mountain Brook, Ala. were prospective students this year. Ultimately, Robert decided to attend DePauw because of the people and programs offered. “The biggest factor for me was the people. Virtually everyone I met was benevolent, intelligent, and overall a good, down-to-earth person. Also, after seeing the incredibly interesting first year seminars for the honor scholar program for the first time, I was even more convinced that DePauw was the right choice for me,” said Robert Krauss.
Thomas Krauss had a different thoughts. “I think I just had different interests than what the university focused on. Although I enjoyed the few days that I stayed at DePauw, I realized that I preferred a school that placed a greater emphasis on math and sciences, as opposed to the humanities,” said Thomas Krauss. He will be attending Auburn University in the fall while Robert Krauss will be a part of the 620 students for DePauw’s class of 2021.