Fall Enrollment Rebounds
Northern’s 10th-day enrollment report shows a total headcount of 9,123, an increase of 12 students over last fall’s preliminary figure. Paul Duby (Institutional Research) said NMU’s ability to rebound from last year’s first minor dip in a decade is a positive sign, particularly in a challenging enrollment climate.
“We had been anticipating a 0.5 percent to 1 percent drop in enrollment because of three factors: the continuing downward slope of Upper Peninsula high school demographics, which reduces the size of our regional recruiting pool; the dismal state of the economy; and the high cost of driving, which keeps some students closer to home,” Duby said. “To hold our own in this environment is doing well. The fact we’ve made a small gain is a testament to the effectiveness of our recruiting and the academic strength of the institution.”
Duby said one of the main reasons for the turnaround is new graduate student enrollment, which increased sharply from 96 to 148. Total graduate enrollment is up by 10 percent to about 785. There also was a slight boost in total new freshmen—from 1,880 to 1,898.
In a poor economy, Duby said vocational schools or technical colleges siphon off adults who lose their jobs and are seeking the fastest re-entry into the workforce. And students who enroll in community colleges often stay put longer to save money, which might help to explain a decrease in transfer students this fall. However, Duby said higher gas prices might turn out to be a blessing.
“Out-of-state enrollment is down about 2 percent, but that is more than made up for by an increase in resident students who are choosing to stay in state rather than cross borders to go to college. Our strength this year is in our Michigan students.”