Drake University enrolled 863 first-year students this fall to meet the targeted enrollment level for the entering class.
As planned, this year's first-year class is smaller than last year's class of 902. Drake officials set the target well below 900 to maintain the optimum size of the University along with the quality of the Drake experience and sense of community.
In the two previous years, Drake saw record entering classes of 902 and 924, which far exceeded the entering class of 781 in 2006.
"The increased demand that Drake has seen over the last few years has allowed the University to become more selective in building its community," said Tom Delahunt, vice president of admission and financial aid.
"Our goal each year is to enroll a demographically diverse class with high academic quality, ensuring that the Drake University experience will be sought year after year."
Drake's retention rate for first-year students returning for their sophomore year has reached an all-time high of 89.4 percent, placing Drake in the top 10 percent of all four-year institutions in the country for retention. The University also gained 192 new transfer students this fall, exceeding its goal of 150 transfers.
As a result, total enrollment remained stable as planned, with 5,653 graduate and undergraduate students this fall, as compared with last fall's total enrollment of 5,668.
"We're very pleased with the high level of interest in a Drake education," said Drake President David Maxwell. "The quality of our programs and faculty remain attractive in a highly competitive marketplace. The current size of Drake’s undergraduate population is exactly where we want it to be to keep the mission promise of 'an exceptional learning environment;' we have no aspirations to get larger on the undergraduate level.
"We know that our size -- and all that it enables related to the quality of the Drake experience -- is one of the University’s most important attributes. As pleased as we were by the enrollment demand reflected in the 'bulge' classes of the last two years, we’re delighted to have hit this year’s target right on the nose."
At the graduate level, enrollment in Drake Law School increased this fall to 463 from 452 the previous year. The Law School enrolled 152 new law students this fall.