First week stats show smaller incoming class, more honors students, lots of burgers

By Zachary Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 22, 1996

The weather is hot, humid and hellish, which means only one thing - Arizona is in the midst of August.

Yet, the eighth month of the year brings not only uncomfortable Tucson weather, but throngs of returning students and many new freshmen to campus.

Current projections number the University of Arizona's 105th class at 4,300, down slightly from last year's count of 4,557, said Rick Kroc, director of the Student Research Office.

Although official fall semester head counts and demographic information will not be available until the end of August, Kroc projected the in-state freshman population will rise slightly, while the number of out-of-state freshmen will drop between 200 and 250 students. He said this projected drop is a direct result of an Arizona Board of Regents resolution last year capping the percentage of incoming out-of-state students at 25 percent.

The number of incoming honors students has nearly doubled since last year, said Anne Deluca, senior program coordinator for the Honors Center.

Deluca anticipates that one in four new freshmen, over 1,000 students, will be an honors student.

"Preliminary data indicates that this is a better-prepared class than years before," Kroc said.

Despite this, current four-year graduation rates remain noticeably low, as only 19 percent of 1991 freshmen graduated on time, Kroc said. He said 44 percent graduated in five years or less, and 50 percent received their diplomas by their sixth year. Six p ercent have transferred, dropped out, or will take longer than six years to graduate.

Kroc added that the UA is attempting to improve its graduation rates by 1998, when the projected six-year graduation rate will be between 60 percent and 65 percent.

Overall, Kroc estimated the UA's total student body is down between 300 and 800 students from last year's count of 34,777.

University-area businesses also experience increases in sales during this time of the year.

Mary Morrison, general manager of the Bike Shack, 940 E. University Blvd., said the store was experiencing an "exponential increase" in sales.

"Right now, we sell several hundred bikes during a three- to four-week period, starting last week."

In a slightly less accurate gauge of student population, Louie's Lower Level in the Memorial Student Union reported increased business since Sunday, having dished out 136 double cheeseburger meals and an estimated 175 orders of chicken strip baskets, said manager Lisa Jansen. She did not comment on speculation that this increase was due to first-year students getting an early start on the fabled "freshman fifteen."