Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Applications to U-M for 2009-10 reach historic numbers



For the third consecutive year, the university has received a record number of applications from prospective freshmen: 29,939 for 2009–10, as compared to 29,806 in the previous year. As of June 8, 14,918 of these applicants were offered admission to the Ann Arbor campus.

“The interest of so many highly qualified applicants continues to be gratifying to the university community,” says Lester Monts, senior vice provost of academic affairs.

“Equally important is the compelling need to be sure the University of Michigan is financially accessible. We have aggressively raised substantial contributions from alumni and friends to support financial aid. This has allowed us to consistently increase student aid to unprecedented levels, well above any rises in tuition. And we have a longstanding commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of students who are residents of the State of Michigan," Monts says.

The average rate of growth in U-M tuition during the past five years has been among the lowest among public universities in Michigan and in the Big Ten. Increased U-M resources for financial aid, along with more generous Pell Grants and additional funds for work-study, will result in more grants and fewer loans for many new and continuing students. In addition, the American Opportunity Tax Credit is available to many of our students and families.

The incoming class of 2013 demonstrates the merit of these financial investments. “The quality of our applicant pool continues to rise each year,” says Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “We have worked to admit the best possible mix of students, who will contribute to our academic community as they thrive and succeed at Michigan.”

The projected size of the entering class is approximately 5,900, an increase of about 200 over last year. This year’s class size reflects a desire to maintain total undergraduate enrollment at 26,000. Final enrollment figures will be available in October.

Overall, of the 14,918 freshman students offered admission, 6,449, or 43.2 percent, have paid enrollment deposits. Proportionally more Michigan-resident applicants were offered admission this year (63 percent) over last year (59 percent).

Enrollment deposits do not necessarily correspond to the number of students who attend class in the fall, because some students ultimately choose not to enroll. This figure is used to track trends. Last year at this time, 48.2 percent of admitted applicants had paid deposits.

This decrease in yield (number of students who pay deposits as a percentage of those who are offered admission) is a phenomenon experienced by many institutions around the country this year. There is some concern that this decline may be due in part to current economic conditions.

“In these tough economic times, we are working closely with Admissions, and incoming students and their families to be sure U-M is accessible to those with financial need, and to ensure that the demonstrated financial need of every admitted Michigan-resident student is met,” says Pamela Fowler, executive director of the Office of Financial Aid.

“The university’s 2009–2010 general fund budget includes $118 million dollars in centrally funded financial aid, a $10 million-dollar increase over last year. This includes $73.7 million, an 11.7 percent rise, in centrally awarded financial aid available to undergraduate students. We are doing everything we can to put those dollars in the hands of students and their families who need it,” Fowler says.

In this second full admissions cycle following passage of Proposal 2/2006 — a ballot initiative prohibiting the consideration of race and gender in admissions decisions — applications from women rose by 71 to a total of 14,628, of whom 7,547 were offered admission, with 3,218 paying the enrollment deposit, an increase of 164 over last year.

The number of underrepresented minority applicants rose by 100 to a total of 2,879. Of those who applied, 1,422 were offered admission, a rise of 102 over the previous year. However, 580 underrepresented minority students paid the enrollment deposit, a decrease of 58 as compared to last year. At U-M, the term underrepresented minority is interpreted to include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

“Competition for the top students is fierce. We are evaluating our current efforts, and will make adjustments where needed to help impact students’ enrollment choices,” says Spencer. “Diversity is intrinsic to the nature and quality of the University. In fact, many students and faculty choose Michigan because of it.”

The recruitment cycle for the coming year kicked off in early June. Admissions decisions are based on the individualized and comprehensive holistic review of all information received about each applicant.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions uses the College Board’s geodemographic tool, called Descriptor PLUS, to identify high school clusters and neighborhoods that are underrepresented among the U-M student community.

The office has increased recruitment staff in both its Ann Arbor and Detroit offices. President Mary Sue Coleman and the university’s executive officers, along with staff, students and faculty, reached out personally to encourage admitted students to enroll.