Columbus, OH

Ohio State breaks records in diversity, academics for fourth-consecutive year

The Lantern
Ohio State has announced a record number of students enrolled in the Autumn semester, increasing both diversity and academic talent. Credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo Editor

Ohio State continued its streak of growing diversity and academic talent in the new freshman class after announcing a new record-high student enrollment for the fall semester, according to a news release Friday.

The university has reported increases in diversity since 2018, one year after former university spokesperson Chris Davey said the university was not at its best in terms of racial diversity . This year, the university reached record highs.

University spokesperson Chris Booker said in an email this increase comes from a consistent effort with campus partners — such as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Honors and Scholars Center and the Center for Belonging and Social Change — to facilitate diverse student advancement.

“For the recruitment of new undergraduate students on the Columbus campus, Ohio State has been expanding our outreach and connection with diverse populations of students over the past decade,” Booker said.

According to the autumn 2022 semester enrollment repor t , the university reached record highs on all campuses, including a 4.7 percent increase in the Asian population and 0.3 percent increase in total minority students.

In recent years, the Latino population has been growing, beginning with a record high 10.6 percent increase in 2018, according to that year’s enrollment report .

However, the enrollment numbers of some ethnicities decreased with a 17.6 percent-decrease in Native Hawiian or Pacific Islander and an 8.2 percent-decrease in American Indian/Alaskan Native students.

Booker said the university has adopted an approach to increase outreach through organizations that can connect Ohio State with diverse populations more receptively.

“The tactics are multifaceted,” Booker said. “Including participation in specialized outreach programs targeted at diverse populations and connections with community-based and faith-based organizations.”

Academic talent has also reached record highs this semester with the new freshman class. There is a 6 percent increase of students ranking in the top 10 and a 4 percent increase in the top 25 percent in high school. ACT scores reached a record high in 2018, with an average score of 29.5 and has since remained in the 28.6-to-28.9 range.

Director of the Morrill Scholarship program Robert Decatur said the program has been working closely with the Bell National Resource Center to help target diverse applicants, particularly African American males.

The Morrill Scholarship program, which was founded in 1984 within ODI, awards academically talented students who are involved in leadership in diversity. Decatur said seeking out these students helps facilitate progress in diversity on campus.

Decatur said this program, which selects 365 students each year, brings in student excellence and supports diversity by having representatives who are trained in implicit bias to review and select recipients. These students are often participants in honors courses and appear on the dean’s list, he said.

“I’m confident the students we’re bringing on campus are going to excel,” Decatur said.

Decatur said the relationship between diversity and academic talent is crucial to improvement on campus and said he is optimistic these numbers will continue to grow.

“It’s important that the numbers in terms of diversity continue to increase,” Decatur said. “Our society is changing, and we need to change with it.”

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