Fewer freshmen lost in summer melt

Only 100 students in the Class of 2014 who made deposits to the University have pulled out of enrolling for the fall semester, a senior administrator in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions said last week.

Every year, the University expects a percentage of incoming freshmen not to attend the University for various personal or financial reasons – a number known as the summer melt. This year, despite a continuously wavering economy, only 4 percent of students that submitted deposits will not be attending the University this fall, down 1 percentage point from last year.

“We usually expect to lose about 5 to 6 percent of freshmen during the summer,” Executive Dean for Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper said. “This year was on the low side, with only about 4 percent of the 2,500 who made deposits choosing not to enroll in the fall.”

Scott Jaschik, an editor at the newsmagazine Inside Higher Ed, said the small percentage was not surprising, but is directly associated with fluctuations in the economy. The incoming Class of 2014 may have benefitted, he said, from knowing throughout the entire application process the economy was in bad shape.

“The students who were applying to GW knew what they were getting themselves into with their finances,” Jaschik added.

Another potential reason that more students chose to fulfill their commitment of enrollment may have to do with the University granting one of the highest financial aid packages to the largest amount of students in the school’s history.

More than 62 percent of undergraduate students have received an average of $32,077 in need-based awards, from a total aid pool of $148 million.

Napper said there are many reasons why students may choose not to head to GW for their freshman year. She added that this year, the number of students who chose to defer for the semester or the year was one of the largest reasons for the melt.

“A portion of those who did not enroll, about 30 to 40 percent, have expressed a commitment to attend GW at a later point,” Napper said.

The high enrollment correlates with other record rates the incoming freshman class has already broken.

In the spring, Napper told The Hatchet that the Class of 2014 would be the “most talented and academically qualified” of any group that had been accepted to the University in years prior.

“We accepted a smaller pool of students from the highest pool of qualified applications, for the lowest admissions rate ever,” Napper said.

Of the 6,670 students who were offered admission in the spring, 37.4 percent chose to submit deposits to GW, a record yield for the University.

“Our yield rate – the amount of students who made a deposit after accepting an offer of admission at GW – was very strong this past spring,” Napper said.

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