Freshman class of more than 5,400 breaks another enrollment record

2018 Ram Welcome C-S-U

Colorado State University welcomed 5,423 students in its record-breaking freshman class while marking 11 consecutive years of record enrollment in figures released Sept. 24.

CSU’s enrollment for 2018-19 is 33,877 students – 28,691 attending classes on campus and those utilizing CSU Online – which is an increase of 464 students from 2017-18. The freshman class grew by 299 students over last year.

“It’s important to remember that we admitted these students because we believe they can be successful – it’s not all about enrollment, it’s more about outcomes for these students,” said Leslie Taylor, CSU’s vice president for enrollment and access. “We, as a campus, are all committed to helping them graduate.”

To that end, the academic profile of the freshman class remains strong with an average GPA of 3.64; 470 students – 9 percent of the class — were accepted into CSU’s Honors Program.

The class includes 3,414 in-state students and 2,009 from outside Colorado. Out-of-state freshman enrollment increased by 18 percent, including a 26 percent increase in students from California, Texas and Illinois – the three states that consistently send the largest number of students to CSU.

In addition, the freshman class is 27.3 percent ethnically diverse, and 22 percent of the freshmen are first-generation students. And in keeping with CSU’s land-grant mission to make education accessible to all, 86 percent of the freshman (4,592 students) are receiving some sort of financial aid.

“We are thrilled to bring such a talented, richly diverse group of freshmen to CSU,” said Heather Daniels, CSU’s newly named director of admissions. “With our many outstanding academic programs, focus on undergraduate research and commitment to providing students with the tools needed to successfully graduate, CSU remains an attractive destination for students in Colorado and across the country.  Our recruitment strategy continues to be focused on connecting with prospective students throughout the admissions process.”

Additional highlights

  • CSU’s emphasis on recruiting women into the STEM disciplines led to a 13 percent one-year increase in female enrollment in those fields. Female students now make up 27.5% of the freshman class in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, up from 24% of the class last year.
  • The Warner College of Natural Resources saw a 17 percent one-year increase, from 194 to 227 students.
  • CSU remains the school of choice for Colorado high school students, boasting the largest number of in-state freshmen of any school.
  • CSU experienced a slight increase in freshman international enrollment from 89 students to 98.

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 by 2020, 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.

CSU now has on-campus housing for 6,264 students – all but nine of those spaces are occupied.

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 2018 fall semester.