ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Academy’s class of 2016 is on track to have the largest number of female students in the academy’s history, the dean of admissions said Monday.
Stephen Latta told the academy’s Board of Visitors that 295 females have accepted appointments. That’s about 20 more than the number that entered with the class of 2010, which previously had the record, he said.
“I can’t exactly say that we actually went out to find more. I just think that we had a very good talent pool this year,” Latta said in an interview.
The class of 2016 will be smaller, so the percentage of the class that will be female will be higher. In the class of 2010,
women comprised about 22.5 percent of the class, Latta said, and he believes the class of 2016 will be more than 24 percent female.
The academy first admitted females in 1976.
A total of 1,209 students have accepted appointments to the class of 2016, including 420 minority students. That’s up from 404 minority students in the class of 2015.
Total applications also are up from last year. There were 20,601 applicants for the class of 2016, including 4,820 females. That compares to 19,145 for the class of 2015, including 4,493 females.
Minority applications rose from 6,658 in the class of 2015 to 6,955.
Latta also told the board that congressional and presidential nominations to the academy are up. Students who attend the academy need to be nominated by a member of Congress or an official in the executive branch.
There were 5,146 congressional nominations and 833 presidential nominations for the class of 2016. The service academies have been working to encourage federal officials to nominate students in recent years in an effort to boost the number of students from underrepresented parts of the country.
“We’ve had fewer districts that are not nominating now than we’ve ever had before,” Latta told the board.
He said there were only four congressional districts that did not nominate a student to the academy for the current class — compared to about 20 districts that failed to nominate a student five or six years ago.
“At least some of those areas where we weren’t getting nominations before, we’re getting two and three and four or five or six or seven, or where we had five before we’re getting nine and ten,” Latta told the board.
Latta noted that part of the reason for the increase is the fact that the academy has been working with congressional offices to raise awareness about the nomination process. He also said a significant reason for the increase has been from the academy working with potential students to make sure they seek out nominations.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)