UM Enrollment Hits Another Record

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Enrollment on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus is at an all-time high in fall 2010 with 41,924 students, according to the UM Office of the Registrar.

The number of graduate and professional students increased by 6.7 percent, while undergraduates increased by 3.1 percent. The total enrollment of all students includes a freshman class of 6,496 students, a 6.9 percent increase from the previous year. Freshman class size varies annually as a result of normal fluctuations in the applicant population and other variables such as the economy.

Freshman applications for 2010 were up 5.5 percent to a record-setting 31,613, and offers of admission were up 6.9 percent.

The incoming freshman class is almost evenly divided between men and women. More than 1,900 high schools, all 50 states, and almost 70 countries are represented.

“Since its earliest years, the University of Michigan has offered an uncommon education to the leaders and best among the men and women of this state and far beyond. We have upheld that tradition with this exceptional entering class,” said Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs.

The incoming class of 2010 is notable for excellence in all areas, including academic achievement. The average high school grade point average is 3.8, while 13 percent achieved a perfect 4.0. More than 30 percent of the class had an ACT composite score between 31 and 36, compared to only 4 percent nationwide.

During the ongoing challenges of the current economy, the university continues its longstanding commitment to meet the full demonstrated financial need of qualified Michigan-resident students. The university’s 2010-2011 general fund budget includes $126 million in centrally awarded financial aid, including a 10.6 percent increase in centrally awarded financial aid for undergraduates.

“While we strive to keep tuition and required fees as low as possible, financial assistance to those in need is central to our promise to be accessible to qualified students who work hard and dream large,” said Monts.

Since 2004, UM tuition increases have been among the lowest of the public universities of the State of Michigan and within the Big Ten. During that same period, UM has increased financial aid resources available to students at a rate that has significantly outpaced tuition increases. These substantial financial resources have resulted in more grants and fewer loans for many new and continuing UM students.

UM says the larger than usual incoming class is an anomaly that does not signal sustained growth in the UM student population. Admissions is as much an art as a science, impacted by countless variables, only some of which can be controlled or predicted. Consistent with high and low cycles in previous years, the overall undergraduate student enrollment is expected to remain fairly constant in coming years.

In anticipation of this large incoming class, the university undertook a thorough, summer-long planning process to ensure that adequate academic resources and support services are available to meet the needs of all our students. Overall, UM offers 6,800 courses each year. Students can choose from more than 249 undergraduate majors and 700 degree programs offered by its 19 graduate and undergraduate schools and colleges.

This hard-working and productive academic environment results in an 89.4 percent six-year graduation rate, one of the country’s best — 7.2 percent higher than just 10 years ago and nearly 34 percent above the national average for four-year institutions.

“This year’s freshman class, the largest ever, brings with them an eclectic mix of skills and attributes that will help them become the Leaders and Best,” said Chris Armstrong, president of the Michigan Student Assembly, UM’s student government. “The University of Michigan has everything they need to have a fulfilling and enriching college career, and I look forward to seeing them take advantage of those opportunities.”

Nationwide, the 2010 incoming class is the first to be admitted under the federal government’s new demographic classification system. The Higher Education Opportunity Act requires all institutions of higher education to collect and report data on race and ethnicity in a new way, which is not directly comparable to previous years. Overall totals and grouped subtotals are fairly comparable, but disaggregated figures for specific races and ethnicities are not.

Using the new reporting guidelines, underrepresented minority freshmen constitute 10.6 percentage of the incoming class. This represents an increase from the prior year, in which underrepresented minorities accounted for 9.1 percent of the incoming class under the previous reporting categories.

“This is a distinguished entering class, remarkable in its diversity of viewpoints, origins, and talents,” said Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions. “Their academic excellence, civic engagement, artistic talent and leadership, are second to none. This broad diversity and their exchange of ideas are key to learning both inside and outside the classroom. We will continue to seek the very best in coming years, but because of the size of the current freshman class we are proceeding cautiously in the 2010-2011 admissions cycle.”

President Mary Sue Coleman and the university’s executive officers, along with staff, students, and faculty, participate each year in encouraging prospective students to apply, and admitted students to enroll. From hosting prospective students on campus, to volunteering at UM’s Detroit Center to reach out to communities in Wayne, Oakland, Kent, Genesee, and Saginaw counties and beyond, current students are among the university’s most effective ambassadors.

A number of efforts support and advance student diversity at UM, including focused outreach to Michigan’s 33 community colleges, and several initiatives coordinated by UM’s Center for Educational Outreach and Academic Success (CEO), which brings students into the pipeline to higher education by engaging them through partnerships between the university and K-12 schools and community-based educational organizations.

“The knowledge-based economy makes it imperative for us to tap the full potential of all citizens of Michigan,” Monts said. “We strive to get students into the higher education pipeline at fairly young ages in order to support their dreams of the future in meaningful ways.”

Additionally, in summer 2010, the university joined The Common Application consortium of 415 member institutions, which potentially will enhance diversity of all sorts, as well as total number of applications, for next year’s incoming class.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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