Fall enrollment numbers are out and things continue to look up for one Northern Michigan school.
The start of the semester enrollment numbers is out for Central Michigan University, and they said the new numbers indicate growth.
First time students at any college were up 6.4%. Undergraduate enrollment went up 3.3 % and new graduate students grew almost 4%.
Transfer students increased by nearly 10% and total new degree seeking students bumped up to more than 3.5%.
Overall, enrollment is still down 1% one from last year, but the university said these numbers indicate the university is growing and they hope to build on that.
Jennifer DeHaemers, the vice president of student recruitment and retention at CMU said for the past decade enrollment has fallen.
“We had been on a about a ten-year enrollment decline at the university. So, every year the class was larger than the next year until we got to fall of ‘22,” said DeHaemers.
Jennifer DeHaemers, the vice president of student recruitment and retention, said that’s when the enrollment numbers started moving in the other direction.
“We’ve got a lot of great positive signs when you talk about an increase in retention rates, and you talk about an increase In new students for two years in a row. That’s a small trend, but we knew last year when that happened, we had some momentum. We’ve got two years of momentum now,” said DeHaemers.
DeHaemers said Central, like most universities across the board, have been grappling with declining enrollment post-pandemic. She said there’s several factors working against them.
Partly because of the pandemic and I think partly in general, because there are statistics that say some students are choosing to either wait a couple of years before they go. There are students who are choosing not to go into education at all.
DeHaemers acknowledges they may never get back to pre-pandemic numbers, but they are coming back strong thanks to a lot of hard work recruiting students, which is paying off.
She said the university understands the importance of keeping students at Central.
“The other thing is we had an Increase in our retention rate of our freshmen who started last fall in 2022 to come back here this fall and that is also a great sign. It’s great to be able to recruit new students to the University but we need to keep the students that came here to begin with if we’re going to, number one, fix our overall enrollment problem,” said DeHaemers.
DeHaemers said they hope to build on that momentum and see even better numbers next year.
“We’re working really hard to turn that around. And in fact, we think next year would be the year that we would turn that around,” said DeHaemers.
DeHaemers said the university president has called for a retention task force and other efforts to help bring parents into the decision-making process for undergraduates.