RWU sets “magic number” for incoming first-year students

The RWU Admissions team is busy reviewing applications for the Class of 2023.

The goal size for the Class of 2023 is 1,140 enrolling students, according to Brian Williams, vice president of Enrollment Management & Marketing.

“In order to reach that class size, we intend to extend somewhere near 7600-7800 total offers of admission (acceptances to RWU) and manage a waiting list beyond that number,” he said.

The standard tuition for incoming freshmen is set at $36,648, an increase of $4,416 from the 2018-19 academic year of $32,232. These new numbers are not currently on the RWU website, but will be soon, according to Williams. New students have all been told the new rates.

Williams said each class year size-goal is acquired through a “collaborative process” that involves several complex factors. Historic trends as to which students did or did not choose to attend RWU in the past are examined, as well as interest in certain majors, the quality of the applicant pool and which states applicants are from.

“Administratively we are trying to find the right number of students for our capacity in our majors, in our residence halls, and more, and align that headcount goal with finding the right level of tuition and financial aid that helps the university meet its institutional goals,” he said.

Enrollment Management as a division is tasked to find a price that meets both the institutions needs as well as the students needs.

“We spend a lot of time in the Enrollment division talking about the dual responsibility we have to the university and to our students,” said Williams. “We are extremely mindful that every additional dollar of tuition revenue need that RWU has comes from our students. As well, every additional dollar of institutional financial support we award to student, is one less dollar of revenue in the budget.”

RWU’s regular decision deadline has been extended to March 1, and RWU has received 8,694 applications as of Feb. 26. Williams said RWU will continue to receive applications on a “rolling basis” from now through August.

“We projected 8,700 – 9,000 as a range of applications, and we are right on that pace,” he said. “In prior years we receive about 150-200 more applications from March 1 to August 1 and expect about that same volume this year. So our educated sense is we’ll be around 8,850 total applications as our official final count.”

When reviewing a student’s application, RWU recognizes that academic performance (courses taken and grades received) is the most important factor, but the Admissions department considers many other things when looking for students to join the RWU community. The Admissions team looks at how a student spends their time outside the classroom, including participation in school clubs, sports or volunteering for the community. Other important factors are the application essay and the grades a student received on their SATs/ACTs, if they chose to submit them. According to the RWU website, about 60 to 65 percent of applicants choose to share their test scores as a part of their application.

For the Class of 2023, some important factors that affected the number of students who will be admitted to RWU are capacity in the residence halls and capacity in the classrooms.

“The size of the class then informs our financial aid and scholarship policies that will help students afford the institution while also ensuring that the class meets the budget needs of the university,” said Williams.