Penn State freshman class to be larger than expected

Despite a decline in undergraduate applications, Penn State likely will see a larger-than-expected freshman class next year.

Penn State saw 6 percent more applicants — or 523 — accept their offers for admission at the University Park campus compared with last year, up to a total of 8,930.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson announced the admissions numbers at Friday’s board of trustees meeting on campus. The figures are as of Wednesday, the deadline prospective students have to accept their offers.

Penn State received 71,410 undergraduate applications, an 8 percent dropoff over the 77,596 received last year. As a result of the decline in applications, the university handed out fewer offers — 4,200 — than last year.

That apparently didn’t matter -- the university’s so-called “yield rate” went up.

“These numbers continue to reflect Penn State’s strength in attracting the best students from Pennsylvania and around the world,” said Provost Rob Pangborn in a statement.

More than 2,000 students of the incoming class will start their Penn State careers this summer, a figure that is the highest ever, Erickson said.

The first-year class size of 8,930 students likely will decline as the summer wears on, as students decide not to come here or leave the university.