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College applicants exceed admissions

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, May 12, 2010

College freshmen still intending to apply for fall admission to area colleges should take heed: From community colleges to private and state institutions, admission offices are reporting what appears to be an across-the-board increase in applications.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday that it no longer is accepting applications for freshman general admission at its main campus.

Slippery Rock University also has closed its application process, said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment services.

"We closed last week with a goal of enrolling 1,550 for fall," Yale said, noting that the figure was the same in 2009.

"We now have 1,636 students who have paid their deposit and enrolled. But from experience, we know some will change their mind before fall classes start," Yale said.

The process is fairly typical for the university in Butler County as it seeks to stabilize its freshman class at a growth rate of about 2 percent a year, Yale said.

At IUP, it's not the first time that applications have been closed, said spokeswoman Michelle Fryling.

"This year it was fairly early," she said.

IUP received a record 12,351 applications for the fall freshman class -- up 800 from the 2009 freshman class, according to James Begany, associate vice president for enrollment management. A total of 3,100 new freshman students have been accepted.

This year's number of applications comes on the heels of record-breaking enrollment of 14,638 students for the 2009-10 academic year.

The 3,100 figure is "on target" for the school's maximum admission figure for fall, Fryling said.

At St. Vincent College in Unity, application records have been set during the last three years. Some applicants were placed on waiting lists.

Spokesman Don Orlando said applications will be reviewed until residence halls are at capacity.

Freshman enrollment for fall 2009 was 448.

"College strategy is to maintain enrollment at about this level," Orlando said.

At Seton Hill University, freshman applications are up 17 percent over last year at this time, officials said.

With indications of a "record-breaking year," President JoAnne Boyle said in a statement the school is planning to open extra sections and is reviewing its housing options.

Barry Bilitski, assistant director of admissions at California University of Pennsylvania, said the school still is accepting applications for the fall semester. But the most recent application numbers are "significantly higher" than last year's numbers at this time, and student housing is quickly filling, he said.

Enrollment for fall 2009 topped 9,000, Bilitski said, including graduate and undergraduate students. Last year marked the 12th year of record enrollments.

Earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon University reported having received 26,431 applications for 1,400 available spots in the 2010-11 academic year -- a 16 percent increase over the previous year, said officials.

Westmoreland County Community College, as well as Community College of Allegheny County, accept students up until shortly before a semester begins.

Last year, WCCC's fall enrollment was 7,103 -- the highest in its history, said spokeswoman Anna Marie Palatella.

So far, applications for the fall are up 21 percent, or approximately 236 more students.

At CCAC, the spring head count was up 12 percent, with summer sessions showing 10 percent increases in enrollment, said David Hoovler, director of public relations. Last fall's enrollment reached 20,695, up about 4.5 percent from 2008.

Most schools noted there are options for transfer students at affiliated campuses or through online courses.

Officials cited a number of reasons for the increase in applications.

A slumping economy has led to an increase in an older, non-traditional population at some schools. Some students are looking for value, and are inquiring about scholarship opportunities.

Palatella and Hoovler cite the lower cost of attending community colleges. Retraining and workforce programs have shown increased popularity because of mounting job losses because of the economic downturn.

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