CSU marks a decade of growth, welcomes historic class

2021 freshman class

The largest and most diverse freshman class in Colorado State University’s history has led to record enrollment for the 10th consecutive year. The university welcomes 33,413 students to campus this year.

Large, diverse class

A record number of freshmen have chosen CSU as their academic home this year, driven by the university’s intentional strategic planning for growth, increasing quality and excellence in education and massive investment in the campus infrastructure.

The freshman class of 5,115, up from last year’s record total of 5,036, includes 1,364 ethnically diverse students – 27.1 percent of the class. It also includes a record number of students in the Honors Program and an overall record average grade point average of 3.62. First-generation students make up 22 percent of the freshman class.

CSU’s enrollment figures illustrate a concerted effort to recruit the best and the brightest from Colorado and around the country. Colorado freshmen make up 68 percent of the class, while targeted out-of-state recruiting efforts in California, Texas and Illinois led to a 16 percent increase in non-resident enrollment from those states.

“The ongoing success of our enrollment effort is the result of our entire campus community engaging with students during their recruitment, admission and early transition to campus,” said Leslie Taylor, interim vice president for enrollment and access. “The engagement of faculty, staff and currently enrolled students throughout the process is truly valued by incoming students and their families.”

Best for Vets

An institution-wide push to create the best possible educational environment for veterans led to an increase in enrollment for service members. The number of veteran students transferring to CSU rose 12 percent this fall.

“Our intentional outreach to veterans has proven to be very effective,” said Maggie Walsh, CSU’s assistant chief of staff to the president and director of veteran initiatives. “Our efforts include a robust peer advising program, specific orientation sessions for veterans, and our new summer academic preparedness and student engagement program we call ELEVATE. Frankly, one of the greatest assets we have is our current student-veterans who have spread the word nationally about the great programs and education they are receiving at CSU.”

CSU’s continued commitment to better serve military veterans has been recognized by Military Times as the university placed No. 4 in the nation among public universities in the Times’ “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” annual rankings.

Outstanding educational value

While providing an outstanding educational experience, CSU also offers one of the best economic values in the country. Forty-six percent of students graduate debt-free and CSU offers the lowest tuition of all Colorado doctoral research universities with highest research activity.

As a result of CSU’s commitment to excellence and affordability, more than 90 percent of recent graduates say they would choose CSU again.

“CSU’s sustained attention to all aspects of student success and student learning continues to be recognized by students and their families inside and outside Colorado,” said Rick Miranda, CSU’s provost. “We’re delighted that the investments we are making in programs, in facilities, and in our faculty are being recognized so broadly, and we have confidence that they will continue to be effective in not just attracting students here, but in graduating them in record numbers as well.”

Strategic investment in campus

CSU has invested $1.4 billion in campus infrastructure over the past decade, including new teaching and research facilities such as chemistry research, biology, behavioral sciences and the Suzanne and Walter Scott, Jr. Bioengineering Building. Additionally, the new on-campus stadium and health and medical center enhance student life and community interaction.

Projects underway include the C. Wayne McIlwraith Translational Medicine Institute, Michael Smith Natural Resources Building, Richardson Design Center, and the Global Food Innovation Center in honor of Gary and Kay Smith.

Planning for growth

Planning began years ago to accommodate forecasted enrollment growth. The university officially adopted a physical plan in 2014 that would accommodate 35,000 students attending CSU, about 10,000 more than it had at the time. The plan mapped out how the university could manage population and physical growth, with added residence halls and academic buildings, even as state funding for infrastructure and building improvements and development dropped.

Over the last decade, Housing & Dining also focused on improving and expanding seven existing residence halls, including adding another floor to several to expand capacity.

The redevelopment of Aggie Village added almost 1,000 beds through apartment-style living, complementing another 1,600 beds added by previous renovations and new construction. A new addition is the completion of the general classrooms at Aggie Village to further support the integration of learning and living on campus. Housing & Dining also has renovated and developed various dining centers as part of its master plan.

The north and south residence halls and Aggie Village are now served by public transportation through Around the Horn. This service is connected to the larger Fort Collins Transfort system, making the residence halls and university apartments more accessible and connected to the campus and the Fort Collins community.

This fall, CSU is housing approximately 5,000 first-year students and 3,000 returning, transfer, and graduate students in its halls and apartments.

More freshman class highlights

  • Students from all 50 states are attending CSU this year.
  • Non-resident enrollment increased by 6 percent.
  • Denver Public School students increased by 29 percent.
  • Largest cohort of Alliance Partnership students, increasing by 22 percent. CSU’s Alliance Partnership unites students, families, high school personnel, and the Colorado State University community in a common goal to envision education beyond high school and send a greater number of Colorado students to college.

The addition of students studying through Semester at Sea, which officially made CSU its academic home in 2016, contributes to the university’s enrollment figures. International students in the academic English program and students who enrolled for summer classes are also included in CSU’s total of new students, contributing to the record freshman class for the 2017 fall semester.