University of South Carolina

Fall enrollment features best freshman class, record numbers

The count is in, and a record 20,521undergraduates are enrolled at the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus.

Among them is the largest – and most academically gifted – freshman class in the university’s history.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said the university has enrolled 3,930 freshmen and 1,200 transfers, totaling a record 5,130 first-year students. An additional 600 students are enrolled in the Bridge Program at one of the 16 state technical colleges so that they can have seamless transition to Carolina in the future.

“Despite the economic downturn, families know that a college education is the best investment for their children,” Pastides said. “They have placed their confidence in us to provide that education, and we are proud to welcome these outstanding students to Carolina.”

The average SAT score for freshmen is 1194, making this class the most academically prepared in the history of the university, he said.

“Over the past seven years, the average SAT score for the university’s incoming freshman class has increased approximately 90 points,” said Pastides. “In increasing the size of our class, we have not sacrificed quality, and that speaks well to the caliber of students who are choosing our university.”

The university has more than 41,070 students enrolled on its eight campuses, meaning that one in three students enrolled in a public, four-year institution in the Palmetto State is at a University of South Carolina campus, said Dr. Dennis Pruitt, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic support.

“This record number comes during the same week that a report for the Commission on Higher Education has found that people with bachelor’s degrees earn more than $1.2 million more over their lifetime than those with high school degrees,” Pruitt said.

“Every part of our state benefits by having a college-educated workforce, and the university’s statewide campuses play an integral role in that education,” he said.

The university began the 2009 – 10 academic year with accolades in the 2010 “Best Colleges Guide” by U.S.News & World Report. The undergraduate international-business program at The Darla Moore School of Business was ranked No. 1 in the nation for the 13th consecutive year, and the university’s First-Year Experience and Learning Communities programs were highlighted in the guide’s “Programs to Look For” section. The university also was among 19 colleges and universities recognized by the guide for “making the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus or facilities.”

The Princeton Review awarded the university a top “green” rating, with a score of 95 out of a possible 99. The university also was named among the nation’s Top 50 schools supporting students studying abroad.

“Each of these honors and others that the university has received in recent months recognize the determination of our faculty and staff to offer students an integrated educational experience that will serve our students well during their college years and throughout their lives,” Pruitt said.

Other highlights:

  • This year’s freshman class includes 320 South Carolina Honors College students who have an average SAT score of 1410.
  • The 500 freshmen in the Capstone Scholars program have an average SAT of 1306.
  • The new Honors Residence, a living-learning community for 537 South Carolina Honors College students, has been built to Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) gold certification.
  • More than 100 freshmen are receiving grants through the university’s Gamecock Guarantee program ,which is supported by money from the ESPN Contract. That amount, totaling $1.2 million, also is being used to support a special aid program for almost 500 of the university’s neediest students to continue or complete their college education.

Fall 2009 enrollment

  • 20,521 -- Undergraduates on the Columbia campus
  • 41,070 -- Total enrollment on all eight campuses
  • 5,130 -- First-year students (3,930 freshmen, 1,200 transfers)
  • 600 -- Students enrolled in Bridge Program, preparing to transition from technical schools to Carolina
  • 1194 -- Average SAT score for all incoming freshmen
  • 1410 -- Average SAT score for the 320 incoming Carolina Honors College freshmen
  • 1306 -- Average SAT score for the 500 incoming freshmen in the Capstone Scholars program

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/24/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 09/08/09 @ 8:22 AM | Permalink