Freshmen class boasts highest GPA, and most diversity, in UO history

A new class of freshmen began fall term Monday at the University of Oregon, boasting the highest grade-point average and the most diversity in the history of the UO.

Preliminary enrollment data suggests the 2011-12 academic year will set an overall enrollment record at UO with approximately 24,000 students. This would be the third year in a row for record enrollment.

Final enrollment numbers are based on totals after week four of fall term and will be released by the Oregon University System.

The incoming freshman class at the UO includes more than 4,000 students with an average grade point average (GPA) of 3.59, which is a significant increase from the 3.52 average in 2010. In addition, the UO has nearly a 69 percent increase in freshman students who received presidential scholarships — awarded to the highest achieving students from high schools across the state of Oregon.

"The academic quality of the incoming students is unprecedented at the University of Oregon," said Roger Thompson, vice provost for enrollment management. "The best and the brightest are joining us on campus this fall and we're excited about the potential that the students represent for the state of Oregon."

The incoming students also represent a significant increase in diversity. Early data indicates that more than 23 percent of those in the incoming class are students of color.

A total of 342 students - 8.4 percent of the class - identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. That's a 15.5 percent increase from the 296 Hispanic or Latino students in the 2010 freshman class, and it's more than double the 145 who enrolled as freshmen four years ago.

Another 268 students - 6.6 percent of this year's class - identified themselves as multiracial or multiethnic. That compares to 227 students (5.8 percent) a year ago.

International students account for 5.8 percent of the incoming class and 8.3 percent of total enrollment at the UO, compared to last year's figures of 5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively. The number of international students in the freshman class has increased by nearly 77 percent over the past four years - from 134 in 2007 to 237 this fall.

The People's Republic of China accounts for the largest portion of international students in the incoming class for the fourth year in a row, but the total number from that country has increased more than fourfold - from 32 in 2007 to 149 this year.

California remained the most common home state among out-of-state freshmen, at 1,077 students compared to 183 from second-place Washington. Washington County is the most common home county among Oregon freshmen, with 431 compared to 381 from Multnomah County and 347 from Lane County. — Julie Brown