Thursday, March 09, 2006

Air Force Academy Applications Down

2% decline comes after last years 20% decrease
By Tom Roeder, The Gazette
Colorado Springs Gazette
March 8, 2006

The number of applicants to the Air Force Academy took a slight drop this year, with 200 fewer would-be cadets asking for admittance.

The 2 percent decrease is a far smaller drop than the 20 percent decline in applications last year. But it’s the fourth straight year that applications have fallen below a high-water mark set in 2002.

The academy said the applications reviewed show a group with solid academic and after-school accomplishments.

“So far, what we’re seeing is a strong class in terms of their qualifications,” Col. Trapper Carpenter, director of Air Force Academy admissions, said Tuesday.

About 9,200 applications have been filed for the academy, which got 9,500 last year and 12,430 in 2004.

The academy got the most applications in 2002, when more than 16,000 sought admittance. But that number was inflated because all applicants to Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps were also submitted for academy consideration.

The school will admit 1,260 freshman for basic cadet training in July.

Academy officials said this year’s numbers fall in line with the number of applicants during the economic boom of the late 1990s.

Carpenter said the number of wouldbe cadets who meet the academy’s rigorous standards doesn’t change significantly from year to year.

“We typically see about 2,000 qualified applicants,” he said.

Carpenter said the number of women and minority applicants increased slightly this year, with more than 70 additional applicants in the two categories.

The Associated Press this week reported a 5 percent drop in applicants to the U.S. Naval Academy and a similar drop for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

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