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2012 Incoming Class Fourth Largest in YU History

In a stunning reversal of recent trends, the population of First Time On Campus (FTOC) students is larger than last year’s. While the number of FTOC students has fallen steadily for the past four years, the incoming class for September 2012 is not only significantly larger than last year’s, but is also the fourth largest FTOC class in the university’s history. Should this growth trend continue, Yeshiva will be on pace to not only recover the students that it lost due to small FTOC classes in the past years, but to break new admissions records as well.

From the Fall of 2003 until the Fall of 2005, the number of FTOCs increased by approximately 50 students each year. From 2005-07, the FTOC class slightly decreased. In 2008, the amount of FTOCs increased significantly again, this time by about 25 students, for a total that amounted to one of the largest incoming classes in Yeshiva’s history. This growth trend was predicted to continue, until a steep drop of nearly 80 students occurred in the Fall of 2009, starting a slide that continued until Fall of this year.

An administrative source attributes the drop in enrollment in the Fall of 2009 primarily to the economic downturn that occurred in that year. With people’s pocketbooks hurting, YU’s tuition seemed like too much of a luxury, and many families elected to send their children to other, less expensive options for college.

The turnaround this Fall has been attributed to a number of different factors. An inside source who asked to remain anonymous suggested that a more aggressive and proactive approach on behalf of the Office of Admissions has contributed greatly to the increase in FTOCs. The Office of Admissions has worked hard to get the word out that YU is an affordable option, starting an ad campaign in major Jewish publications and elsewhere that highlights the fact that scholarship and financial aid are readily available, and that 80% of the university is on financial aid, with the average tuition paid amounting to only 50% of the sticker price. Strangely, the Office of Admissions declined to comment publicly on the matter, despite the fact that these numbers seemingly reflect positively upon their efforts.

Admissions has also put more focus on those students enrolled in the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program, making a stronger attempt to recruit these students who are already in the YU system, but have yet to commit to attending Yeshiva following their year (or two) of studies in Israel. These efforts have proved successful, as the amount of registrants in Israel in 2012 was nearly forty students higher than the previous year.

Another factor contributing to this year’s growth is the increase in students coming from non-traditional feeder schools. Instead of Modern Orthodox day schools, these FTOCs are the products of community schools from outside the New York area. Additionally, there are approximately twenty transfer students, a higher than average number.

Notably, the percentage of students on financial aid remains largely stable at 80%. Though more students on campus means that this statistic translates to a higher total amount awarded by the university, it also indicates that the higher enrollment is not due to any new or more liberal policy with regard to the appropriation of financial aid.

Interestingly, the loss in students between 2008 and 2011 came primarily from the Sy Syms School of Business. Enrollment at Stern and YC were fairly stable during those years, and remarkably, the increase in FTOCs this year comes entirely from enrollment in YC and Stern, while registration in Sy Syms remains equal to that of the previous years.