Aug. 6, 2007 -- When they arrive on the University of Virginia Grounds next month, the Class of 2011 will hold the distinction as the most diverse class in U.Va.’s history.
Of the 3,240 students anticipated in the entering class, 33.5 percent identify themselves as either minorities or international students. Previously, the 2004 entering class had the highest percentage of minority and international students at 30 percent. The shift is all the more striking when viewed in an historical context.
“We have clearly made major strides in recent years to create a more diverse student body,” said John A. Blackburn, dean of admission. “The University of Virginia of today is a welcoming place for students from all backgrounds.”
Students identifying themselves as Asian make up 12.2 percent of the entering class while the percentages for African Americans and Hispanics are 11.2 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. Another 6.4 percent of the students in the class declined to classify themselves as part of a racial group. More than 5 percent are expected to hail from other countries.
Much of this year’s increased diversity can be attributed to a resurgence in the number of African-American students who will be matriculating — the 367 who accepted admission offers represents the second-highest total in school history and an increase of more than 33 percent over a year ago.
“We are very pleased that we were able to improve on the number of black students in this class compared with last year,” Blackburn said. He attributed the strong interest in the University to its 87 percent African-American graduation rate, which has for the past 13 years stood as the highest in the nation among public universities and higher than the rate at most private universities.
Women comprise 57 percent of the entering class, which reflects a national trend, according to Blackburn. The last U.Va. class to be majority male entered in the fall of 1989; the last 15 entering classes have been at least 53 percent female.
“Part of that phenomenon is the increase in the population of African-American and Hispanic students, where the percentage going on to college is vastly greater for women than it is for men,” Blackburn said.
Of those expected this fall, 68.6 percent are in-state students.
Overall, U.Va. received a record 18,048 applications for admission this year, surpassing the 17,338 received in 1996, and admitted 6,283 students. The 3,289 who accepted the offers of admission represent a yield of 52.3 percent. The Class of 2011 will almost certainly be the largest entering class in school history, ahead of the Class on 2009’s mark of 3,112.
Final numbers for the entering class will not be available until the students have arrived since there will be a small number of admitted students who elect not to attend or to defer their admission.