"Things keep looking up for us," says UMass Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jarrett C. Saunders. Despite the state's budgetary woes, "the university's profile and programs have become better known." The result: "the number of applications [for enrollment] have been going up for the last five years, from 18,000 five years ago to 31,000 this year." The poor economy has something to do with that, Saunders acknowledges, as students choose public over private colleges, but the university has done a lot to build its profile with new facilities, improved programs and stronger outreach. "We're on the rise," Saunders says, crediting UMass President Jack Wilson, who will step down in June, 2011, "for keeping the momentum going."