National universities still relying on local students

With universities increasingly using claims of diversity to draw attention and applicants, a recent analysis by the University of Denver indicates that schools — including USC — may be less regionally diverse than they appear.

The analysis looked at schools that are nationally known and examined the regional breakdown of their students. Though USC has the largest international population of any school in the country, it might be less of a national university than is sometimes assumed — a full 60 percent of the freshmen class come from within 200 miles of Los Angeles.

This percentage does not seem likely to change anytime soon. According to Tim Brunold, USC’s director of admissions, about 55 percent of the applications received for next year’s freshmen class were from California applicants. That jump represents a 4 percent increase, slightly more than the 3 percent overall increase in applications.

A New York Times story on the analysis noted that USC is not the only school that might be slightly less national than it appears. At Harvard, the story said, more than one-third of the freshmen class come from within 200 miles of Cambridge, and about half of Boston University’s freshmen class come from within 200 miles of Boston.

Liz Warden contributed to this report.