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Updated 12:00 PM June 23, 2005




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Early Fall 2005 numbers show increases in minorities, freshmen

Preliminary figures for admission of new freshmen show that the Ann Arbor campus likely can expect another large freshman class in the fall. And, included in that incoming class will be a significantly greater number of minority students, reversing a drop in African-American enrollment that occurred last year after the undergraduate admissions process was revised.

As of May 15, 6,597 students had paid enrollment deposits, an increase of 0.4 percent over the same time last year. Paid deposits are not the same thing as enrollment—some students who pay deposits decide not to enroll each year—but they can be used to track trends from year to year. Last year in mid-May, 6,571 students had paid deposits. The University enrolled 6,040 new first-year students in 2004, its largest freshman class ever. Final enrollment figures for 2005 will not be available until October.

Theodore L. Spencer, director of Undergraduate Admissions, says the incoming class will have even stronger academic credentials than last year's group.

"I am tremendously impressed by the quality of the students who chose to apply to Michigan this year," he says. "Our individualized review process is giving us the opportunity to learn so much about each of them, and to admit the students who are deeply interested in Michigan and who can make a unique contribution to our campus."

Spencer attributes the anticipated large freshman class to high yield rates—meaning that more students accepted the University's offer of admission than historically has been the case. "Over the past two years, we have seen our yield rates rise dramatically," he says. "Although some other universities are seeing similar trends, not all of our peers are. Michigan is competing very well against the top schools in the country for the best students."

Following the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in June 2003, the University revised its undergraduate admissions process and rolled out a new application. The first class admitted under the new process—students entering in Fall 2004—reflected a decrease in applications overall and particularly among African-American students. U-M officials described that as a transition year and took a number of extra steps to help prospective students and high school counselors adjust to the changes.

First-year student applications processed so far this year total 23,842, an increase of 12 percent over the same time last year. Applications increased significantly for every minority group.

Senior Vice Provost Lester Monts says the University's efforts to reach out to students, parents and counselors have paid off.

"The staff in Undergraduate Admissions has worked extremely hard, holding extra workshops, organizing outreach to prospective students by alumni and faculty, and trying new tools such as Internet video messages and radio ads to encourage students to apply and enroll," he says. "Our president, Mary Sue Coleman, also participated in a number of recruiting events. I'm encouraged by the results, particularly among African-American students."

Paid enrollment deposits as of May 15 are up 20.1 percent among African-American students and 15.3 percent among Hispanic students. Paid deposits are down 7.7 percent among Native American students, but that decline represents only a handful of students because the population is small. Last year's freshman class saw a very large increase in Native American student enrollment, well above historic levels.

Provost Paul N. Courant says the University is planning ahead to be able to handle another large, incoming freshman class.

"We adjusted well to last year's large freshman class by adding sections of high-demand courses, reorganizing campus housing to create more space for incoming students, adding campus bus routes, and increasing other student services," he says. "Campus units are planning a similar response this fall, and we expect the experience will be a smooth one for our incoming students."

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