- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2008

— (AP) The University of Virginia’s first entering class after ending its early-decision program largely resembles last year’s entering class, admission officials said Monday.

About 3,295 students had accepted admission to the school for the 2008-09 school year as of Monday. John A. Blackburn, the school’s dean of admissions, expects 3,248 students, the same number as last year, after some withdraw their acceptances in the final weeks before school starts later this month.

The median SAT score is up slightly, from 1,307 to 1,323. About 83 percent of the incoming first-year students finished in the top 10 percent of their class, down from 87 percent last year.

About 5.6 percent of the entering class are classified as coming from low-income backgrounds, about six more students than a year ago, and about 26.7 percent of the incoming students show at least some degree of financial need, up from 25.9 percent last year, Mr. Blackburn said.

“We have put a lot of effort into reaching out to lower-income students, and we plan to continue pushing to bring in great students, regardless of their economic backgrounds,” he said.

The school eliminated early decision largely to draw more students from lower-income backgrounds. Under such programs, a student applies to one school before the regular admission cycle and agrees to attend if admitted. Eliminating the policy would allow the school to open more spots for those with financial need, who often must secure their financial-aid options before committing to a school.

Students who identified themselves as white make up 61.6 percent of the incoming class, up slightly from 60.6 percent last year. About 8.7 percent identified themselves as black; that was down from 10.8 percent last year, which the school said was unusually high.

About 14 percent of the incoming class are children of alumni, which Mr. Blackburn called typical.

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