Student enrollment stable, more diverse for fall 2015


Student enrollment on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus this fall totals 43,651 students, essentially unchanged from a year ago, as the university made important gains attracting a more diverse student body.

Overall student enrollment on the Ann Arbor campus is up by 26 students (0.06 percent) from last fall. Undergraduate enrollment is down by 83 students (0.3 percent) from 28,395 a year ago to 28,312, according to the Office of the Registrar.

The number of graduate and professional students increased by 109 from last fall’s 15,230 to 15,339 (0.7 percent).

Undergraduate enrollment includes a freshman class of 6,071 students that is both academically excellent and more diverse than any class since 2005. The number of freshmen is intentionally down by 434 students from fall 2014 when the freshman class rose to 6,505 students.

Among the freshman class, underrepresented minority students comprise 12.8 percent of the incoming class, the largest percentage since 2005 when it was 13.8 percent. Last fall, underrepresented minority students made up 10 percent of the freshman class. Underrepresented minorities include African American, Hispanic, Native American, Hawaiian and those students indicating two or more underrepresented minority groups.

“The campus — admissions, financial aid, recruitment teams and our partners across the university — worked together in response to the charge to achieve our target class size and find ways, consistent with state law, to bring further diversity to our student body with this class,” says Kedra Ishop, associate vice president for enrollment management. “We are pleased with the progress and want to continue our forward momentum in 2016.”

Ishop also says that by “being more strategic with our early-action process, bringing additional clarity and targeted messaging to our financial aid awards and with aggressive recruitment, we were able to enroll a class that is excellent in all the ways that are consistent with our mission and enables us to provide a Michigan education to a broader range of students.”

The size of the incoming freshman class is something the university evaluates each year, Ishop explains, to make sure the university is well positioned to offer a top-quality education to every student who enrolls.

She said yield — the percentage of students offered admission that enrolls — was up overall this year, including among in-state students. With a total of 51,761 applications, U-M offered admission to 13,584 students. Of those, 6,071, or 45 percent, enrolled this fall. Last fall’s yield was 41 percent.

Among in-state students there were 10,094 applications, 5,052 were offered admission and 3,472 enrolled. That’s a yield rate of 69 percent, up from 68 percent in 2014.

Erica Sanders, interim director of undergraduate admissions, says her staff again reviewed a record number of applications that was up 4 percent over the previous year. U-M received 10,094 applications from in-state students and 50 percent were offered admission. Out-of-state applications totaled 41,667 applications and 20 percent of those students were offered admission.

“We continue to see strong interest from across all segments of the state and throughout the nation in the world-class educational opportunities on our campus,” Sanders says.

“With relatively young undergraduate programs in the School of Information and Ford School of Public Policy gaining momentum and a new undergraduate degree in Public Health being launched, we can expect increased interest in the future from students seeking out these and the many other academic programs.”

The number of underrepresented minority students in the freshman class was up by 123 students (19.7 percent) over last year’s 623 to a total of 746, making up 12.8 percent of the freshman class. Ishop says there were a number of small changes this year that added up to a freshman class that is substantially more diverse.

“We worked to increase diversity in our applicant pool, make timely admission and financial aid offers, recruit and connect with admitted students earlier and more often, and engage and assist families through the process in more effective ways,” she says.

This approach also helped to increase yield with first-generation students and across students from families in all income bands, reflecting increased efforts to attract students with a breadth of experiences to the Ann Arbor campus.

First-generation students make up 8.5 percent of the freshman class and low-income students comprise 10.2 percent of the class. The percentage of freshmen eligible for the Federal Pell Grants, which are designed to assist low-income students, rose from 13.3 percent last year to 14.4 percent this fall.

The entering class of 2015 is the sixth to be admitted under the new federal demographic classification system, which requires all institutions of higher education to collect and report data on race and ethnicity in a new way. This methodology is not directly comparable to years prior to 2010, so disaggregated figures for specific races and ethnicities are not reliably comparable to earlier years, although overall totals and grouped subtotals are comparable.

U-M continues to uphold its longstanding commitment to meet the full financial need of all admitted in-state undergraduate students, assuring that U-M remains financially accessible. The university continues to invest more institutional resources in financial aid than ever before: $144.1 million in undergraduate, need-based financial aid, an increase of $10.8 million or 8.1 percent over the previous year.  

The university has a freshman retention rate of 97 percent and a six-year graduation rate of 91 percent, one of highest in the nation and well above the national average rate of 59 percent.

Other characteristics of the freshman class include:

• An almost even split between women (51 percent) and men (49 percent).

• An increase in the percentage of in-state students from 55 percent last year to 57 percent.


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