Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Competition for UF, FSU Gets Tougher Fewer Acceptances May Lower Enrollment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Competition for UF, FSU Gets Tougher Fewer Acceptances May Lower Enrollment

Article excerpt

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Think it's tough to get into the University of Florida? Just wait until next year.

Already the state's most competitive university, UF says it may reject up to 2,000 more applications next year because this year's freshman class is so large it has pushed the school way beyond state targets for enrollment.

UF estimates its freshman class will top 7,000 students this year -- its biggest class ever and at least 1,000 more students than school officials expected. In 1999, freshman enrollment was just more than 6,200 students.

Florida State University also expects a big increase in its freshman class, which could hit 5,800 students or more, compared with a class of just more than 5,100 last year. But FSU officials say they have not yet decided whether they will cut back on acceptances.

And any changes in future admissions policy that result from the unusually large freshman classes at UF and FSU, which have long limited freshman enrollment, couldn't come at a more critical time for the system.

The state in February banned affirmative action in college admissions as part of Gov. Jeb Bush's One Florida Initiative, vowing the state universities will increase the number of minority students by other means.

The pressure to prove that will be most intense at UF, which was criticized for its low minority enrollment during the debates over One Florida.

Both UF and FSU will require essays this year for the first time, to help them create more diverse classes without using race or ethnicity.

Reducing the number of acceptances will surely send admissions standards at UF spiraling out of reach for more students, making the essays even more important as competition gets stiffer and the number of high school graduates continues to grow.

"We're going to have to be cognizant of what happened this year and be a bit more rigorous, but we don't want to discourage kids from applying, either," said Acting UF Provost David Colburn. …

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