MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s 10th day enrollment report shows the number of incoming freshmen pursuing bachelor’s degrees increased by 105 students, or 8.6 percent, over last year’s figure. The rise in new students helped counter the effect of the university’s largest graduating class on record for the past winter semester. “You want a good number of new students moving into the pipeline because that is critical to long-term enrollment success,” said Paul Duby, associate vice president for institutional research. “This increase in new full-time freshmen is amazing given the declining high school graduating classes in the region, especially in the Upper Peninsula. There’s a smaller pool of prospective students and more competition to recruit them from institutions working diligently to increase enrollment because of reduced state support.” Duby said the freshman academic credentials, as measured by ACT score and high school grade-point average, are as strong as those from last fall. “Those freshmen performed extremely well, so we would expect positive things from this year’s group and that bodes well for retention. Our retention rate for the 2010 freshman class increased by 2 percent, which means 25 more students returned for their third semester this fall compared with 2009 freshmen.” NMU’s total enrollment is 9,252, a decrease of 21 students—or 0.02 percent—from last year’s figure. Duby said the university had anticipated a dip closer to 1 percent in the wake of the large number of departing degree recipients, but the freshman increase offset most of the void. Undergraduate transfers also rose slightly to 582, which is the highest number in more than a decade. NMU attracted 70 more students from outside of Michigan compared with last year. Within the state, Duby said Northern drew more students from every recruiting region except the western Upper Peninsula and southeast Lower Peninsula. The four largest academic programs continue to grow. They are, in descending order: art and design, with 701 majors; nursing, 604; criminal justice, 392; and elementary education, 274. Biology reports a noteworthy increase of 41 students, bringing the number of majors to 161.