Originally created 05/14/05

New class is more diverse

ATHENS, Ga. - More than 20 percent of the University of Georgia's freshman class next year could be nonwhite if most of the students who sent money promising to come to UGA actually enroll, admissions officials said this week.

Admitted students were required to send in a $200 "commitment deposit" by May 1, which secures their slot in the freshman class. About 4,800 students paid the deposit, though Admissions Director Nancy McDuff said the university likely will lose 3 percent to 5 percent of those students between now and the beginning of classes.

Based on the number of students who sent in the money, Ms. McDuff projects that about 350 black and 90 Hispanic students will enroll this fall, up from 202 black students and 72 Hispanic students in fall 2004.

The expected freshman class is "very high-quality and very diverse," Ms. McDuff said, which meant the university had to turn down many qualified students.

"The demand has really changed how we have to look at the students here," she said.

This class will likely be even stronger academically than last year's class, which had an average high school grade point average of 3.72 and an average SAT score of 1,237. UGA aims to enroll 4,600 freshmen this fall, and Ms. McDuff said she thinks the class will be very close to that number.

"Hitting it on the nose is a lot more luck than art," she said, but because up to 5 percent of students generally cancel their place in the class or simply don't show up, Ms. McDuff said it will be August before anyone really knows exactly how many students will enroll.

"We'll know from sign-ups for orientation, which are going hot and heavy right now," she said.

"We monitor who actually comes to orientation, and who pays their money when they register at orientation."

UGA has a 500-person wait list, but Ms. McDuff said it is unlikely that many students from the list will be asked to join the class.

"There are a few that we will try to work with, some unusual cases," she said.

Admissions officials plan to send letters out about wait-list status by the end of May.


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