USC Fall 2021 Enrollment Includes Record Number of First-Generation Students
A new bar of success and diversity has been reached with the incoming 2025 class:
- Huge commitment to join the Trojan family across the state, nation and world.
- A record 23% are the first in their family to attend university, up 9 percentage points since 2011.
- A record 24% of new freshmen are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, up from 17% in 2019.
- 1 in 5 students are Latino – a high score.
- The number of black students has increased by almost 50%, from 6% to a record 9%.
- The class’s GPA of 3.83 tied the record.
“The incoming class represents a historic achievement for USC. Most of all, it affirms our dedication to a diverse university where students from all walks of life are welcomed and supported, ”said Kedra Ishop, vice president for enrollment management at USC.
“These unprecedented gains are part of a long-term effort by the team and the university that is paying off. And it’s great to see the bustling campus again, knowing that this remarkable class is right in the middle of it all as they begin their college journey.
A record number of applicants have knocked on USC’s door this year, leading to an enrolled class of 3,668 freshmen and 1,353 transfer students.
The percentage of admitted students who have decided to enroll is also higher than usual at 41.3%, the second highest since the 2019 record high of 41.9%.
Strong Representation of Los Angeles Public Schools in USC Fall 2021 Enrollments
As for the best-represented high schools, most of the top 30 are public. Nearly 200 of USC’s newly enrolled students graduated from the Los Angeles Unified School District.
USC’s Neighborhood College Initiative, a pre-college enrichment program for students in South and East Los Angeles, set a new record with 57 students choosing USC. Graduates of the program receive full tuition at USC and financial aid that does not include loans.
The Foshay Learning Center, a few blocks from USC, was the best high school in the country with a record 40 students.
A constantly evolving admission process
USC admits they have traditionally been strong performers, but this year’s class is remarkable. They are tied with last year’s class for the highest average GPA in USC history at a 3.83.
Over 25% had perfect high school grades. The majority have taken the most rigorous curriculum available at their high school.
Standardized tests were optional for 2021 applicants, and less than half chose to submit these scores. However, the average score of freshmen who submitted them was in the 97th percentile.
USC announced its optional testing policy last year, and the university plans to maintain that policy for at least the next two admission cycles.
“Our decision to make standardized test results optional this year and in the immediate future is part of our scalable admissions approach,” Ishop said. “The philosophy behind the decision is not new. We always take into account the situation of students and the challenges they have faced, and we put that in context when reviewing their applications.
Unprecedented gains in USC enrollment in fall 2021
All 50 states are represented. 42% of the newly enrolled class are from California: 164 students are from New York, 152 from Texas, and 128 from Illinois. International students – including 182 students from China and 71 from India – make up 13% of the freshman class, up one percentage point from last year’s class.
Almost 1,200 students (32%) come from historically under-represented ethnic groups. Among them were over 700 Latinos (19.8%) and over 300 black students (8.9%).
And women make up 53% of the freshman class.
The university continues its commitment to financial aid
USC continued to increase the amount of financial aid available to undergraduates to increase access and affordability. Two-thirds of all undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, and financial aid from all university sources exceeded $ 415 million in 2020-2021.
This fall’s incoming class is the second to benefit from the Affordability Initiative announced in February 2020. As part of this initiative, new first-year students from families with incomes below $ 80,000 (and typical assets) receive free tuition. Home equity is not taken into account when calculating a student’s needs. Last year, nearly 900 new first-year students benefited from the initiative, which represents an increase in financial aid of over $ 7 million.
“It is gratifying to see an increase in economic diversity since the inception of the initiative,” said Thomas McWhorter, Dean of Financial Aid at USC. “It clearly makes a difference and creates additional opportunities for low and middle income students. “
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