St. Mary’s University President Charles L. Cotrell, Ph.D. announced that St. Mary’s has successfully achieved its recruitment budget goals for the 2009 fall incoming class of freshman and transfer students and increased returning student retention rates.

The official 12th day of classes, as of Sept. 2, were released today. St. Mary’s recorded an overall student count of 3,893. There are 2,372 total undergraduates enrolled, 574 graduates, 79 students in the Ph.D. program and 868 in the School of Law.

From the fall 2008 freshman class to the fall 2009 sophomore class, 80 percent returned to St. Mary’s, this a 2 percent increase over last year.

“Our strong recruitment and retention numbers show that the academic quality of a St. Mary’s education is a valued asset, even in these tough economic times,” said President Cotrell. “We were able to achieve our goals without sacrificing our academic selectivity; instead, we placed our focus on increasing financial aid resources for our students.”

The success of the “Access St. Mary’s” program is the single most important reason for meeting the University’s undergraduate enrollment goals for the fall. The program, launched this past March, covered tuition costs and fees for members of the fall 2009 freshman class if they met certain academic and financial aid requirements. St. Mary’s was able to offer this innovative program, in part, through the generosity of the St. Mary’s Alumni Association. The University exceeded its “Access St. Mary’s” goals by enrolling more than 50 percent of the students who were eligible for admission under the program’s criteria. These nearly 170 students represent more than 30 percent of the incoming freshman class.

St. Mary’s is also the first university in San Antonio, and among the first in Texas, to participate in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program under the new Post-911/GI Bill. This initiative has resulted in an additional 23 new students thus far, including nine undergraduates, seven graduate and seven law students.

The School of Law has met their first-year student enrollment goals for the day and evening programs. Dean Charles Cantú and the faculty continue to be successful in their efforts, including those focused on academic excellence. Their success is evident in the academic credentials of the 2009 fall entering class that are the best ever at the law school.

Other good news that illustrates the quality of St. Mary’s returning students is the men’s golf team that has been named “Academic National Champions” in NCAA Division II. The St. Mary’s team was accorded the President’s Special Recognition status for earning the highest grade point average, which was 3.62.

St. Mary’s University has a nearly 60 percent undergraduate graduation rate of all students, which places it among the top colleges and universities in Texas. This is just one of the reasons why St. Mary’s is again ranked fourth in the West Region for quality and value in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category of the U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.”

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