The University of Arizona’s newest class of Wildcats, which begins classes today, will be its most diverse class ever.
Nearly half of the 7,500 first-year students enrolled for the fall 2020 semester – 48% – self-reported as non-white, according to preliminary enrollment numbers. That’s up from 43% at the start of the 2019-20 academic year.
More students are continuing to enroll.
Many fall courses will begin in an online format, as the university takes a data-driven, on-ramp approach to resuming in-person instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, about 5,000 students are expected to attend in-person “essential courses,” such as research labs.
“We are so proud to welcome the most diverse incoming class to the University of Arizona this year,” UArizona President Robert C. Robbins said. “These students are beginning their college career at a unique time in our history. As the result of the pandemic, the campus experience may look different from what they expected when they first applied. However, we remain fully committed to providing all University of Arizona students with the world-class education and career preparation they need to help them achieve their goals, and we are so excited to embark on a new year with this new class of Wildcats.”
Nearly 30% of first-year students identify as Hispanic or Latinx, and 31% of them are first-generation college students.
More than 2,500 transfer students are enrolled, and diversity was slightly higher among that group: 50% identified as non-white, and about 34% are Hispanic or Latinx. About 900 – and counting – incoming transfer students are Arizona Online students.
The university also set a record for the number of applications for both first-year and transfer students, suggesting that the uncertainty of the pandemic did not deter students from pursuing their college careers. The university received more than 43,000 first-year applications and nearly 8,000 transfer student applications. Those numbers are a 5% increase over last year’s first-year applications and a 15% increase over last year’s transfer student applications.
About 3% of new first-year students and 4% of new transfer students are international students who will study on the UArizona main campus. Many new international students will begin their coursework online from their home countries and will attend in person when pandemic-related travel restrictions have eased. Other international students will begin their studies online with the intention to complete their full degrees online from their home, anywhere in the world.
This year’s first-year students are also well-prepared academically, with an average core GPA of 3.55. The average ACT score for the class is 26, and the average SAT score is 1256. In addition, 40% of the class has a core GPA of 3.75 or higher – up five percentage points from last year.
The University of Arizona will also welcome the majority of this year’s Flinn Scholars, with 12 of the 19 selected recipients choosing UArizona. The competitive and prestigious scholarship keeps high-achieving Arizona high school graduates in Arizona to attend one of the three state universities.
“This year’s new students are extremely diverse and have impressive academic accomplishments,” said Kasey Urquídez, vice president of enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions. “Their resilience and commitment to their education during this difficult time is applaudable. I know they will be successful at the University of Arizona and we look forward to serving them.”
The total enrollment for the 2019-20 year was 45,918. This year’s final numbers will be available in mid-September.