New Paltz opens door for 1,640 new students

NEW PALTZ — Note to editors: Media are invited to cover move-in day on Wednesday, Aug. 22. The majority of the activity occurs between 10 a.m. and noon. Contact Ken Ross at 257-3245 for details.

The university campus will come to life Wednesday, August 22 when about 940 new freshmen students move into their new homes at the New Paltz campus. They will be joined by about 700 new transfer students later in the week.

The freshmen were selected from an application pool of more than 12,000 applications – more applications than any of SUNY’s 12 other university colleges. And with a 41 percent acceptance rate, New Paltz remains one of the most selective universities in the Northeast and among the five percent of campuses across the country who accept less than half of their applicants.

While entry to New Paltz is becoming significantly more difficult, the university is still attracting qualified students from all backgrounds – 27 percent of the incoming freshmen come from historically underrepresented groups.

“In surveys, our students tell us that diversity is an important element of the New Paltz experience,” says President Roger Bowen. “With the demand to come to New Paltz growing, we are certainly proud of the fact that we are a primary choice for excellent students from underrepresented backgrounds.”

Moreover, while the demand for a New Paltz education continues to grow, retention is growing at a bounding pace. The first year retention rate for fall 2001 is expected to be at 84 percent, up significantly from 76 percent just two years ago. Total enrollment for the fall semester is expected to be about 7,800, which is consistent with past years.

Returning students will notice several campus additions, including the new Esopus Hall residence, childcare center and Faculty Office Building.

Esopus, the first of two new halls to be constructed, will house 231 students. Construction on Esopus Hall began in August 2000, and its rapid completion highlights the university’s commitment to meet the growing demand from students for campus housing that accompanies the increasing retention rate. At the other end of the campus, College Hall will house 100 students after serving the last 35 years as faculty offices.

“The new housing is a great addition to our academic living and learning environment,” says Ray Schwarz, associate vice president for student affairs. “We’re especially excited about Esopus Hall, which will house a large number of freshmen and a special program designed especially for first year students.”

The childcare center, with three classrooms and an indoor playground, will provide care for about 60 children, with priority given to children of students.

The Faculty Office Building was built to support faculty moves from College Hall. Faculty offices for Black Studies, Computer Science and Mathematics are now located in the new building. English, the other major department affected by the College Hall decision, is now located in the Jacobson Faculty Tower.