September 16, 1998
KALAMAZOO -- At 26,575 students Western Michigan University's fall semester enrollment is up 1.7 percent, making it the largest fall count since 1992.
Fueling the increase was a 12.5 percent jump in beginning freshmen, from 3,341 students in 1997 to a record 3,758 students this fall. This is the fourth consecutive year that the size of the beginning freshman class has increased.
"There are many reasons for this year's increase in beginning freshmen," said John Fraire, director of admissions and orientation. "The most basic reasons are that students want to attend WMU because we provide a quality education at a fair price, our graduates are successful and employable, and we do all of this in a safe and welcoming environment."
The 1998 fall semester also saw increases in the numbers of master's degree students, sophomores and juniors and in the number of total freshmen, which includes beginning and returning freshmen as well as freshman-level transfer students.
One of Michigan's leading graduate-intensive universities, WMU has 5,929 graduate students this fall. The figure includes 507 doctoral students, only one less than the record 508 enrolled last year. The number of master's degree students increased to 3,660 for a 3 percent gain.
In addition, on-campus enrollment is up 2 percent to 23,321 students. Off-campus enrollment, through WMU's 30-community continuing education network, was down less than 1 percent to 3,254 students.
It appears that international enrollment is down by about 150 students due to economic instability overseas, particularly in Asia, from which the University attracts many of its international students. For the past several years, WMU has enrolled the largest number of undergraduate international students among Michigan's public universities.
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