USC welcomes most non-US freshman class

The fall 2011 freshman class will be the most international in the university’s history and for the first time under half the class is from California.

Director of Admission Kirk Brennan attributed the increase in international students to more students’ applications and more students’ intent to come.

He said admissions received approximately 4,400 international applications this year, compared to 3,500 last year.

Asher Feldman | Summer Trojan

“There’s a trend nationally for international students to be coming to the U.S.,” Brennan said. “We offer a unique set of programs that attract international [students] and have been known to enroll international students at high levels for a long time.”

Additionally, he said generally around 30 percent of accepted international students come to USC, but around 45 percent said they would come in the fall.

“We have, for a couple of years, had some dedicated recruitment staff working on the ground in some of our more popular areas,” Brennan said. “We also have, for the first time, hosted some receptions for admitted students internationally like we do domestically. We had them in six cities in Asia.”

Brennan also said this is also the first year “in anyone’s memory” that will see less than half of its students coming from California.

“We see this as a major shift,” Brennan said. “Decades ago it was probably two-thirds Californian students, so it’s a big deal even to see a single percentage point shift.”

Last year’s freshman class had approximately 52 percent Californians, but Brennan said they anticipate 47 to 48 percent of the class to be California natives.

“It’s a surprise to a lot of people because there’s a long history of Californians coming to USC,” Brennan said. “Southern California’s a great place to live, and studies show people often live near where they went to college. We think people who come to study will come to stay, so it may not change our alumni base too much.”

Both the number of applications and places for the class entering this fall increased. The number of applications increased 4 percent, from 35,794 to 37,164 applications. Admissions expects approximately 2,650 students to enroll this year, compared to 2,600 last year.

The acceptance rate hit an all-time low this year, 22.7 percent, offering 8,450 students admission. Last year’s acceptance rate was 24.3 percent.

The anticipated incoming freshman class is about as ethnically diverse as last year’s class, with 21 percent coming from under-represented minority populations (black, Latino or Native American), compared to last year’s 22 percent.

Brennan also said that USC expects about 15 percent of its students be the first in their families to attend college.

“We’ve also seen a sharp rise in the percentage of first generation college students attending USC in the past couple of years,” Brennan said. “This isn’t something we always think about when we think about USC, but the classroom experience is filled with all different kinds of diversity.”

The same is true of students who are the first in their families to attend college: 13 percent of committed applicants this year and 12 percent of matriculating students last year.

In a press release, USC Dean of Admission Timothy Brunold said he was pleased with this year’s pool of applicants.

“Our incoming freshman class promises to be the highest-quality, most geographically and socio-economically diverse in USC’s 131-year history,” Brunold said.

The university attributed the overall increase in applications in part to the availability of financial aid, which increased this year, and need-blind admission, which admits students regardless of ability to pay. More than 60 percent of the student body currently receives some form of financial aid.

The university increased its undergraduate financial aid budget by 7 percent and plans to distribute more than $200 million.

“As our popularity has grown and reputation has continues to rise, we’ve become more attractive to students in other parts of world both nationally and internationally,” Brennan said.

9 replies
  1. RA
    RA says:

    This conversation is an embarrassment. You appear to be provincial, ignorant, Californians pretending to have something to say. 89% of the students in the incoming class are from the U.S. Sure, sometimes universities use the word “diversity” to mean “ethnic diversity.” That’s totally different, and sometimes over-done. This is the kind of diversity that is good though, where people were actually raised in other countries. They add something different to the experience of that other 89%, who are Americans, of the incoming class.

  2. NoMore
    NoMore says:

    US universities are in the business of slutting for money from international students. The result is a system destined to educate the rest of the world while our own students miss out on an education. The influx of foreign students in recent years is sickening. It is not just at USC. It is in everywhere, including the “second tier” schools. They steal seats from deserving US students and then turn around and steal US jobs with their newly bought diplomas. It is a sad trend. First our manufacturing and service jobs get sent overseas, and now the invasion is coming here to steal our education opportunities and limited domestic jobs. Wake up Americans! You are getting screwed at both ends!

  3. kathy
    kathy says:

    Disgusting. Reprehensible $$$ whoring for the internationals who have money to burn. Meanwhile, few at USC give a rat’s patootie that the middle-class white kid from say, Iowa or Nebraska or West Virginia, will be overlooked in favor of the foreigner. They will call it “diversity”, but it is about MONEY. Then brace for it, folks, because somehow, these internationals will never, ever leave; they will then steal the jobs that your kids should have secured. Thanks USC for screwing not only the State of California, but for killing off careers all over the nation.

    • Ruby
      Ruby says:

      To Kathy: What a petty, mean, completely paranoid comment! “Killing off careers all over the nation”? “Steal the jobs that your kids should have secured?”

      Please, lady. Get a grip on reality.

      • Trojan Alumn
        Trojan Alumn says:

        To Ruby,
        I think if anybody needs to get a grip it’s you. I work in the healthcare industry and I see how people from certain parts of the world come here, swarm an industry, bring their business practices (which for the most part are unethical) steal the medicare and medi-cal system blind, only do business with their own kind, and take advantage of this country’s “trusting” nature while sending most of their money back to their own countries while providing mediocre service to their clients. Now I am not speaking about any particular nationality or saying that “all” are guilty, believe me we have plenty of unethical people born here as well. What I do see is that many people see diversity as a good thing and LA as a melting pot. In reality LA is a “stew”. We may work together but for the most part we stick with our own socially. We always have to be “politically correct” and the people who suffer the most with accusations of racism or intolerance are those born here…that’s the reality!!

        • Ruby
          Ruby says:

          To Trojan Alum: How many of these people that you are referring to from your experience in the healthcare industry that are “from certain parts of the world” actually attended USC and obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university? Please provide statistics. This type of fearmongering made by you and Kathy against USC students and graduates is both ignorant and dangerous.

          • Trojan Alumn
            Trojan Alumn says:

            I love how people like you stoop to ad hominem attacks when you lose a debate or can’t see through the brainwashing you received because you cannot discern reality from your politics. What is dangerous about what I said. The danger is that it is happening and people like you will let it and will yell the loudest when it affects YOU.
            The truth is that big universities love the non-US students because, 1. they are better educated (does not reflect well on our current California School system…and we all know who pulls those strings…need I say it), and 2. they know that they will pay full tuition and will not be eligible for many scholarships or in-state discounts that a California student would get. What’s dangerous and ignorant, as you say, is that this country is going down the tubes because we don’t invest well in our own kids. Where are you statistics to tell me I am wrong. By the way, what I wrote about is based on 15 years experience in the field…I don’t need stats. I also have plenty of fraud investigators I work with that see even more than I have. Wake Up Ruby!

  4. Cliff Putnam
    Cliff Putnam says:

    Bring on the best and brightest from anywhere. The second tier have ample educational opportunities at the state supported schools.

    USCFAN says:

    And this is a good thing? I think not. Why should we educate the world? What about CA students (or US students for that matter!) who now lose out on those coveted spots for admission. USC is just following the trend of the CA state system….money talks, so sad to hear.

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