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U-M enrollment reaches another record high
Freshman enrollment down; minority student numbers up overall


The University has enrolled a record number of students on its Ann Arbor campus for the sixth consecutive year, according to figures released Nov. 12. Total enrollment for fall 2002 is 38,972, up 1.9 percent from 38,248 a year ago.

"The growing demand for admission to the University and the growth in enrollments are a reflection of our academic strength, the breadth of programs we offer, and the importance of our mission," says Paul N. Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and professor of economics and of public policy.

"Students tend to find a college education more appealing and more essential when job prospects are less abundant. Equally important are the University's contributions to the state's economy through research and the production of educated graduates. Accordingly, we are teaching more students and conducting more research than ever before."

Student enrollment grew markedly in the School of Nursing, School of Information, School of Social Work, College of Engineering, Ford School of Public Policy, and Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The School of Nursing has made a sustained effort to enroll greater numbers of students in part to address a growing shortage of nurses in southeast Michigan and nationwide.

Since 1996, the University's undergraduate enrollment has grown by 882 students to 24,472 for fall 2002. Graduate and professional enrollment has grown over that time period by 1,565 students, to 14,500.

Once again, the University received a record number of applications for its freshman class. A total of 25,108 students applied for admission in summer or fall 2002, up from 24,141 last year. The first-year student enrollment of 5,187 reflected a planned decrease in the freshman class in order to create a stable undergraduate student body for the 2002­03 school year.

Courant says some factors behind the growing number of applications include demographic trends in Michigan and nationally; the greater appeal of top-tier public universities during difficult economic times; and the ease of submitting electronic applications. This was the first complete admissions cycle during which students could submit online applications to U-M.

In the total student body, which includes undergraduate, graduate and professional students, underrepresented minorities made up 13.6 percent, up from 13 percent last year. By racial group, enrollment percentages were: African American, 8.1 percent (up from 7.9 percent); Hispanic American, 4.7 percent (up from 4.4 percent); Native American, 0.8 percent (up from 0.7 percent); Asian American, 12.9 percent (up from 12.7 percent); and white, 66.7 percent (up from 66.5 percent). Nearly 7 percent of students listed other racial categories or did not indicate their race (down from 8 percent in 2001).

"We are pleased that racial and ethnic representation remains strong among our student body. Our progress and sustainability in this arena is a reflection of the value the University places on diversity as an important part of its mission," says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs and senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs. "The many programs and outreach initiatives we have in place to recruit and retain students of color continue to provide students with a myriad of opportunities to succeed.

"In addition to their place in campus demographics, students of color are making enormous contributions to the cultural life of the campus, and that is something from which we all benefit, yet cannot statistically measure," he says.

Enrollment percentages for the various racial groups are calculated using an adjusted enrollment of 33,440, which represents U.S. residents enrolled in degree-granting programs on the Ann Arbor campus.

International student enrollment increased at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, despite delays encountered by some international students in getting their visas processed. A total of 4,261 international students were enrolled for fall 2002, up 268 (6.7 percent) from last year.

"The increases we're seeing in international student enrollment are part of a continuing trend," says Earl Lewis, vice provost and dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. "It is widely recognized that the best graduate education available in the world is at the top research universities in the United States. We're seeing an especially strong enrollment of students from Asia, as those rapidly developing economies continue to produce large numbers of well-qualified and ambitious students."

Related story: Undergrad admissions: Nearly half of applications so far done online>

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