Fewer than 90 freshmen who submitted enrollment deposits in the spring gave up their places in the Class of 2015, signaling a slightly higher retention rate among the University’s incoming students.
Summer melt, the number of freshmen who made a nonrefundable $800 deposit in May but ultimately choose not to attend GW, remained at approximately 4 percent for a second-consecutive year.
Just 89 students pulled out of the incoming class this year, fewer than last year’s reported 100-student summer melt.
Executive Dean for Undergraduate Admissions Kathryn Napper said the Class of 2015 is comprised of 2,270 students, although in May she told The Hatchet there were 2,320 incoming freshmen. She did not return requests for clarification of the 50-student discrepancy.
Napper attributed the steady melt numbers to the University’s increased selectivity. This year’s acceptance rate for incoming freshmen was 32.6 percent, a 4-percent dip since 2009.
“We are very pleased with the reduction of summer melt, which we attribute to our ability to attract applicants to GW who really want to be here, admissions selectivity and the work of the University in connecting our new students to GW,” Napper said.
Market-basket schools have seen similarly steady summer melt figures, Eric Hoover, a senior reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, specializing in admissions, said.
Specific figures are not yet available from Georgetown and American universities and Boston University declined to release its summer melt figures.
“It doesn’t surprise me that GW’s summer melt rate is holding steady,” Hoover said. “I think it’s fair to say that most institutions are doing more to engage students right from the time that they send their deposits in May through orientation.”
Hoover also said increased financial aid can trim summer melt numbers.
“The use of financial aid in a creative, targeted way to go after the students we really want the most can be a tool to go after summer melt, even if you are not thinking about it as much,” Hoover said.
The Board of Trustees voted in May to increase financial aid for the coming year by 6 percent – to $159 million – allowing an estimated 60 percent of students to receive financial aid.
The steady summer melt comes alongside a slight boost in applications, just 200 more than last year and a 4-percent decrease in the University’s yield rate – the percentage of students who deposited for the incoming class.
“Beyond the numbers, we will enroll a freshman class of talented students with incredible leadership potential and commitment to service,” Napper said.
This article appeared in the August 25, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.