Provost Martha Pollack said Thursday the Ann Arbor campus moved quickly over the summer to add class sections, hire additional instructors and secure housing for a larger-than-expected freshman class.
Based on preliminary enrollment numbers, she said this year’s freshman class is up by 307 students over last year, with a rough total of 6,532 freshmen and a total undergraduate enrollment of 28,483. Complete fall enrollment figures will be released in the weeks ahead.
“We had hoped to shrink the freshman class this fall, but our yield was up for both in-state students and out-of-state students,” Pollack said during Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting. Yield is the percentage of students offered admission who actually enroll. Overall, U-M had nearly 50,000 applications for admission, up more than 6 percent from the previous year.
The provost said the largest schools on the Ann Arbor campus — LSA and the College of Engineering — were able to add sections for popular freshman classes in fields such as Spanish, math, economics and entry-level engineering courses. Other units made similar adjustments.
She also said all schools and colleges would be watching class selection trends closely as this year’s freshmen advance, making sure to offer the appropriate number of upper-level courses.
“We are committed to ensuring that these students get a high-quality education throughout the time they are with us,” she said, noting that the campus has successfully adapted to similar situations previously with no dip in the retention of students. U-M has a six-year graduation rate of 90 percent.
The university also was able to accommodate all incoming freshmen that chose to live on campus by incentivizing upper-class students to move off campus into apartments leased by the university. That effort freed up 338 spaces for freshmen, Pollack said.
“Our goal was to preserve the tradition of first-year students living on campus. We were able to accomplish that through a multi-office, cross-unit planning effort.” All freshmen that requested campus housing were accommodated by Aug 8.
Moving forward, Pollack said that managing the incoming class would be a key priority for new associate vice president for enrollment management, Kedra Ishop, who joined the university Sept. 1.
“I have asked Kedra to explore more advanced tools that will provide improved prediction models for managing the admissions,” Pollack said. “And we will set a target for next year well below this year’s actual enrollment and make very intentional use of a wait list.”
She said the university would make sure to inform applicants about the changes moving forward.