Education

Cal Poly’s enrollment dropped nearly 2 percent this fall. Here’s why

Cal Poly’s new grant aims to increase diversity

Cal Poly announced a major new grant program in February 2018 — aimed at helping low-income and first-generation students who were accepted to the university but need financial help. It will help at least 2,500 students by 2023. Officials hope the
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Cal Poly announced a major new grant program in February 2018 — aimed at helping low-income and first-generation students who were accepted to the university but need financial help. It will help at least 2,500 students by 2023. Officials hope the

Cal Poly’s total enrollment dropped by nearly 2 percent from fall 2017 to fall 2018, following a year in which more students than expected accepted Cal Poly’s offer of admission.

The university saw a total decline of 1.7 percent. Notably, there were 855 fewer first-time students, a decline of 16.3 percent from 2017, according to a final census count released by Cal Poly.

In May, data released by the university showed that Cal Poly accepted less than a third of high school applicants for fall 2018, according to a Tribune article at the time. Of nearly 55,000 first-time freshmen who applied, 16,466 were accepted as the university looked to fill 4,486 available spaces, Jim Maraviglia, Cal Poly’s associate vice provost for marketing and enrollment development, told The Tribune.

That was due in part to about 1,000 more students than than expected accepting Cal Poly’s offer of admission in 2017, which left the school scrambling to provide enough beds and offer more classes.

The school also saw a record number of applicants for fall 2018 — more than 65,500 first-time freshmen and transfer students— which played a role in the high number of students who were turned away.

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong told The Tribune in 2017 that the university planned to reduce freshman enrollment in fall 2018 and wouldn’t pursue any student growth until at least 2022, which is the current policy, university spokesman Matt Lazier confirmed in an email.

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