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U of M touts second-largest, most diverse freshman class in school history

More than 6,700 first-year students will be entering the U of M this year on the Twin Cities campus.

MINNEAPOLIS — A buzz returned to the University of Minnesota campus Monday as freshman began to move into the dorms for the fall semester, a rite of passage that happens like clockwork every August.

This year, there's a lot of them.

According to the school, the freshman class in 2022 will total more than 6,700 students, the second-largest cohort in the past half-century and the most diverse ever. Overall applications also increased 6%, representing a second straight year of progress after a slight dip at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. 

The university reports students of color make up about 34 percent of the freshman class. Also, applications increased by 25% for Native American students, 24% for Black students and 22% among Hispanic students. 

About 68% of first-year students are from the state of Minnesota, including Malika Freeman, who plans to major in psychology.

"I'm excited about the whole thing. New beginnings," Freeman said. "Just being able to finally study what I want... I'll be more into my major, [plus] football games, sports, being with friends, college life."

Meghan Stoltzman, a Moe123 scholar recipient, said she will major in biology with a pre-med track.

"It's a little nerve-wracking, because it's something new, but I'm excited to meet new people," Stoltzman said. "It's really fun seeing all different people come together, everyone from different backgrounds coming together as one -- it's really special."

Last week, University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel touted the size and diversity of this year's freshman class during an on-campus forum on public safety. She also detailed new crime prevention initiatives, such as increased patrols from Minneapolis Police and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in neighborhoods near campus at the start of the fall semester. The University of Minnesota Police Department had a visible presence as students move into their dorms Monday. 

Nash Feinstein, a Hopkins High School graduate, said he's looking forward to "meeting a lot of new people and starting a new life."

"Seems like everybody's happy. Everyone is getting to know each other already, too, seeing each other in the halls," Feinstein said. "I think it's a nice place."

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