MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s 10th day enrollment report shows the continuing undergraduate count is within 17 of the 2011 figure. Paul Duby, associate vice president for institutional research, called that highly surprising after a record-setting number of graduates last year “drained the pipeline.” Graduate student enrollment increased slightly, also defying projections, and the number of enrolled veterans is up by 50, or more than 23 percent. But total enrollment decreased by 154 students—or 1.7 percent—mainly at the junior and freshman levels.
“The increase we saw in freshmen last fall was an aberration—remarkable, really, when you consider the demographic trends,” Duby said. “Our 10th day figure for baccalaureate freshmen this fall has bounced back in line with the 2010 number. The junior deficit is more puzzling. It’s clear that the demographic decline in the U.P. high school population has and will continue to be a major obstacle facing us. The population we recruit most students from is shrinking very fast. A high percentage of the drop in the number of Michigan students was in the west central U.P. But we held our own in terms of out-of-state and international students.”
The academic credentials of incoming freshmen are on par with last year, with an average ACT score of 22.5. Credit hours are down by 2.8 percent. Duby attributes that to an increase in part-time undergraduate students.
Fall enrollments in the most popular academic areas remain strong. The top four, by number of majors enrolled, are art and design, nursing, criminal justice and biology.