Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Enrollment hits all-time high, supported by largest-ever pool of financial aid in 2009-10

• Enrollment also up at Flint and Dearborn campuses.

• Breakdowns of U-M freshmen and total enrollment by gender and race.

Enrollment on the U-M Ann Arbor campus is at an all-time high in Fall 2009 with 41,674 students, according to the Office of the Registrar. The number of graduate/professional students increased by 2.9 percent. Undergraduates increased by 0.8 percent. The total enrollment of all students includes a freshman class of 6,079 students, a 5.1 percent increase from the previous year.

Freshman applications for 2009 were up 0.5 percent to a record-setting 29,965, and offers of admissions were up 19.12 percent.

The incoming freshman class is almost evenly divided between men and women. More than 1,800 high schools, all 50 states, and almost 70 countries are represented.

“The University of Michigan continues to enroll some of the world’s most gifted and productive students,” says President Mary Sue Coleman. “Our newest students have unlimited potential, and we look forward to the contributions they will make to the university and our region during their years at Michigan.”

During the current economic downturn, the university continues a longstanding commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of every admitted Michigan-resident student. This commitment extends to Michigan-resident students who will be affected if the state reduces or eliminates funding for the Michigan Promise Scholarship. In those cases, the university will provide additional financial aid up to the level required to meet the student’s full demonstrated need.

The university’s 2009–10 general fund budget includes $118 million dollars in centrally awarded financial aid, including an 11.7 percent increase in financial aid for undergraduates.

Since 2004, U-M tuition increases have been among the lowest at public universities in Michigan and the Big Ten. During that same period, increases in financial aid resources available to U-M students have outpaced increases in tuition. These resources, along with newly enacted increases in Pell Grants and additional funds for work study, will result in more grants and fewer loans for many new and continuing U-M students. In addition, the American Opportunity Tax Credit is available to many of our students and families.

“Access is key,” says Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs. “In addition to our unprecedented financial aid resources, U-M is making every effort to encourage enrollment of students who represent the first-generation in their family to graduate from college, or whose families are in challenging financial circumstances.”

This year’s freshmen excel in all spheres. While in high school, 43 percent were elected to one or more student government offices, and more than one-third of the class received all-city, all-league, all-county, or all-state awards in athletics. More than half of the class volunteered in hospitals, clinics, or home health care programs, while others assisted children or adults with disabilities, and several members of the freshman class received honors for their community service.

Despite the current economy, 10 percent of the Class of 2013 established a business while still in high school. Thirty-five percent published poems, stories, essays and articles, or served as editors of their high school newspaper or yearbook, and 65 percent of our incoming freshmen play a musical instrument.

Approximately 1,500 members of the class achieved a perfect 4.0 while in high school; and, for the sixth consecutive year, the average high school GPA for the entire class is 3.80. Continuing an upward trend of the last five years, nearly 25 percent of the class was ranked in the top one percent of their graduating class, almost 75 percent were in the top five percent, and more than 92 percent of this year’s freshmen ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class.

Approximately 1,200 freshmen scored between 650 and 800 on the verbal portion of the SAT; 1,800 scored 650 or better on the math portion — both up 1 percent over last year. Two hundred and ninety-five of this year’s freshmen earned a perfect score on at least one section of the ACT, with 30 percent holding ACT scores between 30 and 36, compared to 4 percent nationally.

“The Class of 2013 has everything necessary to thrive at the university,” says Abhishek Mahanti, president of the Michigan Student Assembly, U-M’s student government. “As fellow Wolverines, I welcome and encourage them to take full advantage of the amazing opportunities at Michigan, and to really become the leaders and best here in Ann Arbor and beyond.”

The 2008-09 admissions process was the second full cycle conducted in accordance with adoption of Proposal 2 by Michigan voters in November 2006.

Among freshmen, underrepresented-minority applications rose 3.7 percent and offers of admission rose 8.2 percent, yet freshman underrepresented-minority enrollment fell 11.4 percent, reducing the percentage of underrepresented minority freshmen from 10.4 percent in Fall 2008 to 9.1 percent in Fall 2009 — a drop of 69 students.

“While we continue to avoid the precipitous losses seen by our peer institutions in states where similar laws exist, this trend is troubling,” says Coleman. “I am concerned about our diversity losses in the incoming class, and am working with staff to redouble our outreach efforts.”

“We work hard every day to build the best possible freshman class each year, and this year is no exception,” says Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions. “Our incoming class is exceptional in all ways, although we have experienced a notable loss in some key elements of diversity. We are competing nationally with other top schools that are not constrained in their ability to confer recruitment scholarships and other forms of financial aid with consideration to racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, among other factors. This is a tough environment, but not impossible. We have learned a lot in the past two years, and are sharpening our skills and adding to our toolkit.”

“President Coleman foresaw the potential for this situation,” says Monts, “and our admissions offices, along with faculty, staff, and students throughout the university, are working hard to maintain diversity under current law. This is a priority because, according to every critical indicator — like graduation rates, scholarly production, national and international rankings of academic programs, and the number of applications for admissions — we know that a diverse community of scholars is integral to the university’s excellence. A diverse community of scholars helps us attract top students and faculty who actively seek opportunities to learn from the disparate experiences and perspectives.

“We have launched a number of efforts to support and advance diversity in our student community, such as our ongoing partnership with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which is a substantial investment in outreach and collaboration with Michigan’s 33 community colleges.”

Results from such efforts gradually are being felt; transfer enrollment in LSA grew by more than 100 students in Fall 2009, as compared with the previous year.

The pipeline into higher education also is strengthened by U-M’s Center for Educational Outreach and Academic Success, which engages students at earlier ages by engendering partnerships between the university and K-12 schools and community-based educational organizations.

Several additional measures have been implemented to encourage a broadly diverse incoming class, including use of the College Board’s geo-demographic tool, Descriptor PLUS, and expedited admissions and financial aid processes.

Led by Coleman, U-M faculty, students, staff, administrators, and alumni have engaged in unparalleled levels of personal outreach to invite students to apply and, when admitted, to enroll.