2004 enrollment sets records at every level
U-M student enrollment for fall 2004 set new records at every level, according to official figures released Oct. 14 by the U-M Registrar.
The most dramatic increase was in the number of freshmen. New first-year students totaled 6,040, an increase of 487 students or 8.8 percent over fall 2003. The previous record was set in 1999 when there were 5,559 new freshmen. The figures include students who entered the University in spring, summer or fall 2004.
Total enrollment, which includes undergraduate, graduate and professional degree students, increased by 1.3 percent to 39,533, also a record. Enrollment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels set new records as well.
“The unexpectedly large freshman class was the result of an unprecedented increase in the yield, that is, the percentage of students who accepted our offer of admission,” said Paul N. Courant, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Although we received fewer student applications this past year, those students we admitted had a very strong interest in attending the University. They recognize the extraordinary value of a University of Michigan education, and they want to benefit from our world-class faculty, our highly ranked academic programs, and the diversity and intellectual excitement of our academic community.”
However, Courant cautioned, “this growth in our enrollment underscores the need for a much stronger level of funding support from the state. The cost of educating students at this high level of quality is much greater than what we charge in student tuition. State support is an essential ingredient in order to be able to offer an excellent education to Michigan students.”
The schools and colleges that enroll freshmen, particularly the colleges of Engineering and LSA, directed considerable resources toward opening new course sections, adding academic advisers and augmenting other services in order to handle the influx of new students. At a central level the University also has added services such as increased bus routes, new Welcome Week programs and expanded services in the residence halls in order to accommodate the large freshman class effectively.
Courant said he expects next year’s freshman class to reflect more normal enrollment patterns, as undergraduate admissions staff adjust to the changes in yield during this year’s admissions cycle. This year’s freshman enrollment target was about 5,545.
The total enrollment figures show a decrease in African American student enrollment for 2004. Enrollment among Hispanic and Native American students increased, while Asian American student enrollment fell slightly. The decrease in African American enrollment reflects a 60-student decline in Black freshmen, which was the result of a more than 25-percent decline in applications from African American students for fall 2004 admission.
“I am concerned about the decline in applications from African American students,” President Mary Sue Coleman said. “I have consulted with the Provost’s Office, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and the deans of the undergraduate schools and colleges. We are closely monitoring our admissions recruiting activities this year to make sure we are doing all we possibly can to encourage all qualified students to apply.
“We want prospective students to understand what they can gain from the wealth of educational opportunities on our campus, and how they can add to our vibrant learning community,” Coleman said. “We are working to ensure students of color hear the message that they are welcome at Michigan.”
Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs who oversees the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, said the staff is redoubling its efforts to reach out to prospective students and African American students in particular. “We have stepped up our outreach activities this fall, and we are especially focusing on parents and high school counselors, since they are very influential in students’ decision-making process.”
Monts noted that Coleman will be the main speaker at two events in the Detroit area in December 2004 and April 2005 for prospective students and their families. In addition, admissions counselors are expanding their contacts with minority-serving high schools in other regions of the state, including Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Benton Harbor, Ypsilanti, Pontiac, Flint and Lansing.
The University also recently unveiled a new Spanish-language interface on its Web site (http://www.umich.edu/Es/). The site, which includes extensive information for prospective students translated into Spanish, is intended to reach out to Latino students whose families may be primarily Spanish-speaking. Students must complete the application for admission in English.
Theodore Spencer, director of Undergraduate Admissions, noted that the yield for underrepresented minority students in 2004 was stronger than it has been for many years. “When admitted minority students investigate their options and see what opportunities a University of Michigan education has to offer, they enroll. Our challenge is to get more minority students to apply,” he said.
At the undergraduate level, African American enrollment declined from 1,960 in 2003 to 1,875 in 2004. African American graduate and professional student enrollment increased from 756 to 781 this year, although total enrollment of African American students declined from 2,716 to 2,656. African American students now make up 7.8 percent of the total student body at U-M, down from 8.1 percent last year.
Hispanic American enrollment increased from 1,659 to 1,684, making up 5 percent of the total student body. Native American enrollment increased from 275 to 314, making up 0.9 percent of the total. Asian American students, now 13.2 percent of the total, declined from 4,489 to 4,472. White students increased from 22,236 to 22,490, and continued to make up 66.3 percent of total enrollment. Students whose race is unknown were 2,319, or 6.8 percent of the total, up from 2,141 last year.
Racial percentages are calculated using an adjusted total enrollment of 33,935, which includes only U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens.