Biola University to admit fewer freshmen in fall

Despite the higher number of applicants and accepted students for fall 2011 compared to fall 2010, Biola is planning on allowing fewer students to enroll.

Kathryn Watson, Writer

Biola University is preparing for a slightly smaller incoming undergraduate class for 2011, but not because fewer students have applied and been accepted. May 1 marked the date for accepted individuals to confirm attendance.

As of May 3, 1,150 students had submitted a deposit, exactly 100 students short of the total number of new undergraduates the university intends to enroll in fall.

Enrollment to cap sooner than anticipated

This year, the administration is aiming to enroll 1,250 students, compared to last year’s incoming class of 1,293 students. As of April 15, a subtotal of 2,738 students had been accepted, compared to 2,450 on April 15 of last year, according to the most recently available registration report. That’s an 11.76 percent increase. Still, as the recent commotion over the housing situation evidenced, the incoming class is big enough to displace some current students. Since the university can’t grow at the same level as last year, Admissions will have to stop enrolling students in the not-so distant future, according to Greg Vaughan, vice president for enrollment management.

“It will happen sooner than we expected probably,” Vaughan said.

Last year, the university essentially capped enrollment in June, he said, but this year, that cap could take place as early as this month. Contrary to some student discussions around campus, the incoming class of fall 2011 will not be as large as the incoming class of fall 2010 was. The incoming class of fall 2010 was the largest in Biola’s history.

Student population nears limit

Once all of the incoming class is enrolled, Biola will be just under its city-imposed limit of 5,000 on-campus, full-time equivalent students. By fall 2010, Biola had 4,878 such students. For fall of 2011, Vaughan said the university will be “just a few students [short] of hitting that cap.”

Growth affects campus and budget

So far, 469 students of the total number accepted have made their non-refundable deposits, up 64.6 percent from last fall’s 285. That’s a good sign for Admissions, as the number of students who deposit is often the best indicator of how many students will actually choose to attend in fall. Admitted students are strongly encouraged to make their deposits by May 1 of each year. While Biola has to take into account that some students will make deposits and not enroll, Vaughan said the consistently higher numbers over last year are a good sign.

“Every undergraduate trend is positive,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan said graduate enrollment is expected to dip. On the whole, however, the subtotal of accepted incoming students for the entire university lies at 3,012, a 10.41 percent increase over last year.

Vaughan realized that the university can’t grow without further affecting areas like housing capacity.

“The budget is calling for a smaller incoming class,” he said.

Diversity issues addressed

Admissions and enrollment concerning diversity were brought up at last month’s PAC Town Hall, in which President Barry Corey and his core leadership team fielded student questions on the mailbox lawn.

“What is Biola doing to welcome a diverse community?” asked junior Alexis Hinton, Bluff senator. “How are you going to attract students from more diverse communities? Are you willing to sacrifice admissions quotas to do so? Is this even a priority?”

“That’s a great question, and it’s a fair one,” responded David Nystrom, provost and senior vice president.

Nystrom said diversity issues have been a very real concern this year for the administration, and that Biola has increased funding for Multi-Ethnic Programs for next year.

Over the past five years, the proportion of white students to other races has declined just marginally, according to the Registar’s five-year enrollment summary. White students composed 65 percent of the campus population as a whole in 2010, compared to 69 percent in 2005. The percentage of international students, however, has dipped from 4 percent to 2 percent. All races have grown proportionally except for for the proportion of black students, which has remained largely stagnant.

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