Penn State is seeing a boom in the number of undergraduate applications for admission in the next academic year.
As of Monday, the university had received almost 46,000 applications from prospective baccalaureate students, a figure that is more than 7,500 ahead of the number of applications received at this time last year. The count is more in line with the number of applications received at this time in 2010 and 2011.
From this applicant pool, the university has made 11,000 offers.
The 45,917 applications represent a 20 percent increase over last year’s 38,359 applications. The tally comes after the historically heaviest month, November, that the university receiving applications.
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“The level of interest in attending Penn State is very gratifying,” President Rodney Erickson said Tuesday during an address to the University Faculty Senate.
The university is seeing similar jumps in the different segments of the applicant pool.
For instance, for the University Park campus, the number of in-state applicants is up 10 percent and out-of-state applicants are up 30 percent.
Applications from black and Latino students are up 21 percent over last year, too.
Spokeswoman Lisa Powers said the word among peer institutions is that the number of applications is up over last year, and that trend may point to external factors such as improving confidence in the economy, decreasing unemployment rates and more certainty about the future.
But, Penn State has done work that may have been noticed by prospective students, such ramping up undergraduate recruiting, especially around the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and offering millions of dollars in scholarships.
“It also has not hurt that our efforts that there has been some great news related to the university,” Powers said, “such as upticks in our rankings, the positive nature of our bond rating, the jump in research funding, and our fundraising goals close to completion.”
Penn State is also seeing a 10 percent increase in the number of applications from prospective graduate students.
(This report has been updated to correct the increase in the number of applications from December 2012 to December 2013 was 20 percent.)