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University of Southern Mississippi Welcomes Record-GPA Freshman Class

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 13:52pm | By: Jim Coll

The Class of 2023’s Southern Miss experience has just begun, and the nearly 1,900 new freshmen at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) have already made their mark on the institution. The 1,888 freshmen represent the third-largest freshman class in University history and boast an average high school grade point average of 3.40—the highest ever recorded by a USM new freshman class.

In size and quality, this year’s freshman class continues a positive trend for USM, as the last three freshman classes are among the four largest in University history.

“I am so pleased with the academic credentials of our newest class of Golden Eagles,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “I have no doubt they will make incredible contributions to our Southern Miss story as they learn from our exceptional faculty and experience all that The University of Southern Mississippi has to offer.”

A total of 3,441 new USM students, including 1,583 transfer students, contribute to a Fall 2019 enrollment of 14,133—compared to the 14,509 students who enrolled at USM in Fall 2018.

“We continue to grow the geographic reach of Southern Miss and understand the national landscape around recruiting students, knowing we need to continually approach enrollment as an enterprise,” said Kate Howard, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services and Dean of Admissions. “Scholarships, financial aid, and student engagement upon the arrival of new students are collaborative efforts that are happening daily with Enrollment Services and the University at large to ensure we continue to attract top students. The class credentials for this year are a testament to our commitment to quality.”

Among other highlights of USM’s Fall 2019 enrollment are:

  • The freshman class represents 25 states and 21 countries.
  • The average ACT score for incoming freshmen is 22.71, an increase from 22.68 in Fall 2018.
  • New enrollment in the Honors College increased by 30 percent.

The slight decrease in overall enrollment can be attributed to demographic trends, including fewer numbers of Mississippi high school graduates and fewer students enrolled in Mississippi’s 4-year public higher education institutions. In addition, the University implemented a new payment schedule to enhance students’ abilities to financially plan. The new payment schedule reinforces USM’s commitment to providing pathways for students to succeed, both academically and financially. A recent report from LendEDU demonstrated that USM students graduate with the lowest average student debt in the state of Mississippi – more than $3,000 less than its closest competitor.