First-year student applications increase as retention rates remain steady at Rutgers
At last week’s Board of Governors meeting, University President Robert L. Barchi announced preliminary estimates of new student enrollment at Rutgers for the upcoming school year — citing a notable increase in first-year student applications.
During his preliminary remarks, Barchi commented on the University’s admissions process, which runs through spring and sometimes into the summer, and stated that applications are up by approximately 9.3 percent all across the board — with a 7.3-percent uptick at its flagship New Brunswick campus.
“Interestingly, with a lot of efforts we’ve been making with marketing and improving the visibility of Rutgers, our out-of-state domestic applications were up 18 percent year on year and they were about 7.6 percent ahead of last year on incoming, so people that have already given us their deposit … So we’re headed in the right direction,” he said.
He further commended the actions of Rutgers—Camden for its two-fold increase in reported Admit Comings by approximately 50 percent over the last two academic years, as reported by The Daily Targum.
During the Fall of 2012, the number of entering students at Rutgers—New Brunswick at the undergraduate level was approximately 8,500 and has since grown incrementally to 9,622 students in 2016. This has been a steady increase with little fluctuation aside from an initial jump to 9,314 students during 2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
What has not changed is the University’s first-year student retention rate. At just above 90 percent, the percentage of students that have stayed at Rutgers after their first year remains consistent amid increases in the overall population, according to the report.
With an increase in student application rates and steady retention rates, the admissions process may become a more competitive applications process for incoming students.
In 2016, 17 percent of the University’s student body was comprised of out-of-state students — almost double the number of out-of-state students enrolled a decade ago when Rutgers only encompassed three campuses, according to an article by NJ Advance Media.
Courtney McAnuff, Rutgers' vice president for Enrollment Management, said that recruitment of international and out-of-state students has increased over the years and helps offset the $4 billion of the University's budget that comes from state funding — a number that decreased by 24 percent, according to the article.
"We can't increase tuition very much, the economy being what it is," McAnuff said at the time. "We probably will take more students from out-of-state or international."
Rutgers’ first-year student acceptance rate during 2017 was 56 percent, and still remained one of the highest percentages of in-state students among state universities in the country, according to the article. Among Big Ten schools, Rutgers had the most in-state students, with schools like the University of Michigan and Penn State ranking in the bottom tier with a less than 55 percent in-state population.
The University still awaits full acceptance as a full-equity partner in the Big Ten Athletic Conference, and a share in its revenue stream which equated to $51.1 million in 2017, according to the Targum. Rutgers has received incremental increases in revenue share in the years leading up to its full integration during the 2020-2021 school year. It received $16.1 million from the Big Ten in 2017, a $9.8-million increase from the previous year.
"President Robert (L.) Barchi remains committed to ensuring the Athletics Department becomes self-sufficient as soon as possible," said Karen Ayres Smith, a Rutgers spokesperson, in a statement to NJ Advance Media at the time. "Rutgers Athletics will be in a position to generate a positive cash flow for the University after we receive our full share of Big Ten revenues in 2021. Membership in the Big Ten brings numerous benefits for Rutgers students, faculty and researchers, including shared academic resources and research collaborations with our peer institutions in the Big Ten."