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Lewisburg, Pa. -- Bucknell University welcomed its largest incoming class for the 2020-2021 academic year, with 991 new students, compared to 968 new students last year. Overall, the University received 9,890 applications from students across the country and around the world. 

Students among the record-breaking class come from 33 states, the District of Columbia, and 37 countries. Demographics include 19%  students of color, more than 4% international students, and more than 10% first-generation students. The class entered with an average GPA of 3.61, which is .03 higher than last year's average. 

There are also 35 transfer students this year, 12 of whom are Bucknell Community College Scholars.

Bucknell also saw an increase in the number of students who applied Early Decision (ED) and enrolled about 50 more students through ED this year compared with last. 

“After getting to know the Class of 2024 over the last two years during the admissions process, my team and I are thrilled to welcome them to the Bucknell community,” says Kevin Mathes ’07, dean of admissions. “They have competed in the Junior Olympics, performed field research in Yellowstone National Park, acted in 11 TV movies and series and competed in the VEX Robotics World Championship. We were impressed with their academic abilities, service work, leadership skills and dedication to their communities. They have had a high school experience unlike any other and we know their resilience and grit will be on full display as they embark on their journey at Bucknell.”

Prior to the start of the academic year, Bucknell set up the Bison to Bison (B2B) online network for newly-admitted students and their families, giving new and prospective members of the Bucknell community five weeks to ask questions, chat, and get to know each other prior to the start of classes. The program was in development prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and launched in March.

The University opened the 2020-21 academic year with an enrollment of 3,724 students, including 30 graduate students.

Due to the pandemic, students were given the option to take classes remotely this fall and 338 chose to do so, meaning 3,386 returned to campus.

The 175th academic year for the university began on Monday, August 17.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.