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Monday, February 26, 2024
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UB enrolls 32,332 students, just shy of last year’s record enrollment

Undergraduate enrollment decreases, is largely offset by international and graduate enrollment

Students grab food, chat with friends and do work at the Student Union this fall.
Students grab food, chat with friends and do work at the Student Union this fall.

UB enrolled 32,332 students this fall, 16 fewer than last year’s record total of 32,348 students. That number includes students enrolled in university programs on UB’s North, South and Downtown campuses, as well as its Singapore and India programs.

“We set an enrollment goal to enroll 30,000 [students] by 2020,” Lee Melvin, vice provost for enrollment management, said in a press release announcing the enrollment totals. “We achieved that goal in 2019 and we’re sustaining that enrollment.”

These enrollment numbers, however, are sustained by graduate and international student enrollment, which rose by 824 and 709 students, respectively. Undergraduate enrollment fell by 840 students, from 22,307 in the fall 2020 to 21,467 this fall. 

Melvin attributed the increase in international student enrollment to a “majority of international students” deferring their admission until this year due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions. The Spectrum could not verify that claim. 

The international and graduate student enrollment growth follows a “concerted effort” by UB to “mitigate” declines in these groups’ enrollment totals “and the consequent decrease in tuition revenue,” according to the university’s 2019-20 Annual Operating Budget Report. It takes three in-state undergraduate students to generate the same tuition revenue as a student in all other tuition groups, the university wrote. 

Freshman enrollment stands at 4,179, according to a university press release, meaning it fell alongside undergraduate enrollment from 4,415 last year and 4,299 during the 2019-20 academic year. 

This year’s freshman class is more diverse than that of previous years. Students from underrepresented minority groups comprise approximately 20% of the class, with the number of Black freshmen up by 12% and the number of LatinX students up by 1% compared to the 2020-21 academic year. 

The fall 2021 incoming undergraduate class averaged 1280 points on the SAT, with over 30% of students submitting their test scores. That’s more than 50 points higher than the average score for fall 2020 freshman class; more than 73% of students submitted an SAT score that year.

The fall 2021 semester marks the second time — the first time being spring 2021 — where standardized testing requirements were optional, according to the Office of Admissions’ website

“Our freshman class of over 4,100 students is highly qualified and academically talented,” Provost A. Scott Weber said in the press release. “Our student body is more diverse than previous years with more students of color, women and international students.”

The university’s press release, which was distributed on UBNow and to media organizations, contained an inaccuracy regarding international student enrollment. The press release claimed that enrollment of “all international students… rose by 852 from last fall to a total of 4,463.” 

Data obtained by The Spectrum shows that enrollment for all international students rose from last fall’s total of 5,203 to 5,912 this year, an increase of 709 students. The number rose by 779 to 4,426 international students when not counting enrollment in UB’s Singapore and India programs.

Justin Weiss and Dan Eastman contributed to the reporting.

Grant Ashley is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at


Grant Ashley is the editor in chief of The Spectrum. He's also reported for NPR, WBFO, WIVB and The Buffalo News. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on the platform formerly known as Twitter at @Grantrashley. 



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