WMU News

Fall enrollment reaches nearly 29,000, sets record

Oct. 9, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Enrollment at Western Michigan University rose by 1 percent this fall to an all-time high of 28,931 students, and that number includes the University's largest-ever freshman class.

The number of beginning freshmen on campus rose by 2.7 percent, with this year's beginning freshman class totaling 4,669, an increase of 126 members over last year's record class of 4,543. Total undergraduate enrollment is up this year by nearly 2 percent, and the total number of undergraduate student credit hours increased by some 3.6 percent.

This fall marks the fourth consecutive year the University has attracted record numbers for its class of beginning freshmen. For the past three years, WMU has closed admission to its fall freshman class in May, in order to manage the size of its entering class.

"We've determined that an incoming freshman class of about 4,500 is optimal for this institution, and we carefully monitored the admissions process last spring to try and keep the class in that range," says Dr. Fredrick J. Dobney, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. "While it's difficult to predict the exact size of the class until the fall semester begins, we once again exceeded our expectations with regard to our goal this year. WMU continues to be extremely popular among prospective students and while that's a great problem to have, we need to monitor our class sizes continually to ensure we maintain the quality of our educational offerings."

Dobney says the University's increasing emphasis on graduate education also is reflected in this fall's enrollment numbers. While overall graduate enrollment is down by about 2 percent, that decrease is the result of far fewer numbers of students taking graduate-level classes on a part-time basis. However, the actual number of full-time graduate students enrolled at WMU increased by 16 percent, from 2,572 last fall to 2,990 this year. The total graduate student enrollment, as measured by the number of graduate credit hours taken, also increased by 4.7 percent.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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