New student enrollment, credit loads both increase
Sept. 15, 2005
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's beginning freshman class of 3,837 is slightly larger than last fall's group, more students are starting graduate degree programs and average student credit loads have increased.
Those are just a few of the trends that are reflected in the University's official fall enrollment figures finalized this week. The annual fall census was taken Sept. 12.
"There are positive messages about our future in this fall's report," said WMU President Judith I. Bailey of the tally. "We're pleased with the size of our incoming freshman class and with the nearly 5 percent increase in new graduate students. And across the board, students are taking a higher average number of credits, which means they'll be able to graduate more quickly and begin pursing their careers or the next phase of their education."
The University's total enrollment now stands at 26,239, down from 27,829 a year ago.
Bailey attributed the change in enrollment to the graduation in recent years of the three largest classes in the school's history and to an increasingly competitive environment. However, she expressed confidence that WMU has a plan in place that will lead to enrollment growth in 2006.
Key components of that plan include a new Enrollment Management Program and the flat-rate tuition policy adopted this year. This new tuition approach, which is designed to encourage students to take more classes, appears to be working with the average number of credit hours undergraduates are taking this fall increasing by 2.3 percent. For students in master's and specialist programs, the average number of credit hours is up by 5.5 percent. And at the doctoral level, the average credit hour load was up by 1.8 percent.
Media contact: Matt Kurz, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org