Freshman applications to the University of Colorado are slightly up this year, with a notable increase in those from foreign students.

The Boulder campus has received 22,287 freshman applications, a 2.3 percent increase compared with last year. Of those, 1,190 international students have applied to be freshmen, which amounts to a 25 percent increase, said Kevin MacLennan, director of admissions at CU.

Last year, the Boulder campus had a dip in enrollment that led to an $11 million budget shortfall. This year, the campus has employed new recruiting strategies -- including a new merit scholarship for high-achieving in-state students as well as a letter-writing campaign in which deans and faculty members send notes and make calls to some admitted Colorado students who have not yet confirmed.

"We're also adding more campus visit opportunities and high school visits," MacLennan said.

And some members of the Board of Regents -- including chairman Michael Carrigan, D-Denver -- are calling students who still haven't confirmed their admissions offers. May 1 is the national commitment date.

CU received an all-time record of 15,031 out-of-state applications, a 3 percent increase over last year. In-state applications total 7,256, a 1.4 percent increase over last year.

Lauren Sorge, a high school senior from San Diego, will be a freshman studying broadcast journalism at CU this fall. She considered a half-dozen other schools, including some in California and Oregon.

"I chose CU because it offers everything I could ever want," she said. "I love snowboarding, rock climbing and hiking -- and I'm able to do all of that in Boulder."

She said she was also impressed with how welcoming the student body seemed and how many on-campus entertainment options there were.

Boulder campus officials have invested $2 million into a new "CU-Boulder Esteemed Scholars Program" that will provide scholarships for a select group of in-state freshmen. The awards will total $10,000 to $20,000 over four years and will be given out based on high school grade point averages and test scores."

University officials acknowledge that there are more out-of-state recruiters based in Colorado, offering the state's top students competitive financial aid offers.

Also, there are fewer students to recruit than in previous years.

The Boulder-based Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education recently released a report showing that the pool of college-bound students will be smaller. High school graduate numbers peaked at 3.4 million in 2010-11 after 15 years of growth, then began a decline that will stabilize at 3.3 million graduates nationwide in 2013-2014. The next period of significant growth is projected to be in 2020-21.

This year is the second highest year for applications, behind the year 2008.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or anasb@dailycamera.com.