Clark Atlanta University Receives Record-Breaking Number of Applicants 46,414 for Class of 2028

Clark Atlanta University is among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) of “choice” according to data revealing the institution’s record-breaking number of applicants.  

According to CAU’s office of undergraduate enrollment, this year the University has received more than 46,000 applications for the incoming Freshman Class of 2028, a 6% increase from last year and an 18% increase since 2022 directly after COVID. 

Dr. Cherise Peters, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Retention at Clark Atlanta University, said “The future continues to be bright for Clark Atlanta University.  There is no lack of students wanting to come to CAU; it’s a powerful place and they’re coming.” 

Victoria Smiley, Clark Atlanta University’s SGA President-Elect 2024-2025, shared her first choice for pursuing her undergraduate degree was CAU. “I came to Clark Atlanta University because of the institution’s strong Mass Media Arts department. After touring the department and CAU’s beautiful campus I was sold,” Smiley said.  “I am an Isabella T. Jenkins Scholar in CAU’s honors program, and I’ve received numerous scholarships from several organizations to attend Clark Atlanta.  The faculty and staff made me feel welcome and the experiences here empowered me to transform from a shy young lady into an impactful student leader.  I am constantly pushed out of my comfort zone, but I am growing, and I like it.”  

With only 1,200 slots available for incoming freshmen, admittance into the University is undoubtedly competitive. The preferred minimum high school GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale that’s up from 2.6, and this year, the average GPA of admitted first-time freshmen is 3.7 up from 2.9 in 2021.  The number of students accepted by undergraduate admissions is largely based on their academic profile.  

Peters contributes the upward trend to a variety of factors to include a strong interest in CAU’s brand, new and innovative events such as CAU’s Admitted Students Day, improved communications within the office, and an improved relationship with the institution’s communications unit. 

“CAU’s brand is popping. Students signing up for our mandatory overnight new student orientation is up by 20% compared to last year,” Peters said. “We have also developed strategic partnerships with community colleges across the country to facilitate automatic acceptance of their students with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees.” 

“I conducted research and I found that many prominent figures in the music industry and the arts were alum of Clark Atlanta University. During my sophomore year in high school, I participated in an HBCU tour and visited Clark Atlanta University and the Atlanta University Center. It was a vibrant atmosphere, and on the first day, I saw professors interacting with students on the promenade,” said Kennedi Johnson a rising senior at CAU and a Your Future Is Now Black Music Collective Scholarship recipient.  

Approximately 69% of CAU’s student population are Pell Grant recipients. CAU’s office of admissions works diligently with the financial aid office to ensure future scholars are financially enrolled and ready to begin their transformative journey as CAU panthers.  Despite the challenges with the Department of Education’s recent rollout of FASFA, Clark Atlanta University is delighted to share its financial aid office is preparing 2024-2025 financial aid packages, and awards letters will begin rolling out May 1, 2024.  

Overall, the CAU Office of Admission’s goal is to support the University’s 2023-2028 Strategic Plan: Destination 2028, by providing admitted students with transformative guidance, support, and an innovative indoctrination to the unique history and heritage that makes CAU – Clark Atlanta University. 

About Clark Atlanta University  

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morehouse School of Medicine) that compose the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. Notable alumni include: James Weldon Johnson, American civil rights activist, poet, and songwriter (Lift Every Voice and Sing, “The Black National Anthem”; Ralph David Abernathy, Sr., American civil rights activist; Congressman Hank Johnson, Georgia District 4; Kenya Barris, American award-winning television and movie producer; Kenny Leon, Tony Award-winning Broadway Director; Jacque Reid, Emmy Award-winning Television Personality and Journalist; Brandon Thompson, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for NASCAR; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Recording Academy. To learn more about Clark Atlanta University, visit