WMU sees enrollment gains in key areas, with slight decrease overall

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News
Photo of WMU campus.

Aerial photo of WMU.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's fall 2014 student body is more diverse and substantially more international, and it includes more transfer students, more honors students and more graduate students working on doctoral degrees.

Overall, however, enrollment is is down slightly over last year's enrollment total. The official fall census was taken at the close of the day Sept. 9. As was forecast by campus enrollment experts throughout the year, small entering classes from earlier this decade resulted in an overall enrollment decrease of 1.6 percent as compared to last year's figures. WMU's enrollment for fall 2014 is 23,914.

Those traditional fall enrollment numbers do not reflect students enrolled in two major and highly publicized University initiatives launched this academic year. The WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 54 students this fall, while a new affiliation with the state's largest law school means nearly 2,000 additional students are enrolled at the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Both are private entities affiliated with WMU.

The largest enrollment increase at WMU for fall 2014 was a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of international students enrolled. The 1,854 international students from 100 nations represent the largest international enrollment in more than a decade. International students now comprise nearly 8 percent of the WMU body.

WMU's increase in the number of transfer students is expected to be one of the largest such increases this year at any Michigan public university. The 6 percent boost in transfer student numbers represents a gain of more than 100 students in that category.

Other notable enrollment numbers

  • Minority enrollment grew by more than 5 percent, pushing total minority enrollment to 4,969—nearly 21 percent of the student body. The largest percentage increase—9 percent—was among Asian students. The number of African American students increased by 5.2 percent. Over the past five years, the number of minority students enrolled at WMU has increased by 22 percent.
  • The beginning freshman class size hit nearly 3,100 (3,089), putting the total number of students classified as freshmen this fall at 4,123—2.6 percent below last year's freshman class number. Incoming freshman credentials continued the upward trend of the past three years, with the average high school GPA now at 3.4 and the composite ACT score at 22.8.
  • The size of the elite Lee Honors College grew again this year to 1,708 students—up 4 percent over last year's number. Over the past five years, there has been a 52 percent increase in the number of students qualifying for the honors program.
  • Online enrollment continued to surge this year, with online enrollment increasing by 16.4 percent. Nearly one in five WMU students is taking at least one online class.
  • At nearly 900 (896), the number of students pursuing a degree in one of WMU's 30 doctoral degree programs increased by 3.1 percent, following a similar 3.7 percent increase last year. This is the third largest number of doctoral students in University history.
  • While the majority of WMU's student body—nearly 87 percent—are Michigan residents, out-of-state enrollment increased by 6 percent this year. This is the seventh consecutive year of increases in that category.