MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s 10th day enrollment report shows a decline in total headcount from last fall, but a closer look at the numbers reveals positive strides in key areas. Officials expressed optimism that initiatives underway or in the planning stages will counter the negative enrollment trends that have impacted NMU, most Michigan institutions and many universities nationwide.
NMU’s headcount is 8,592, a 3.3 percent decrease from last year’s 8,879. Despite the overall decline, the number of new graduate students has increased by 118, or 18.6 percent. The increase is fueled in part by the growth of existing programs such as the online master’s in public administration (MPA), which has attracted 37 more students. New programs also boosted graduate numbers. For example, the master’s in higher education in student affairs, one of seven new academic programs approved in May, drew an initial enrollment of 24.
Other promising indicators include NMU’s international student population, which is up 10 percent. New undergraduate in-state numbers also have increased, a sign NMU is attracting a larger share of a shrinking pool of prospective students.
“The 10th day report is consistent with our original projections,” said Steve Neiheisel, vice president for enrollment management and student services. “We knew undergraduate numbers would be down because of a continuing decline in high school demographics, an improving economy and a record number of degrees awarded last May.”
Neiheisel added that he is optimistic about future enrollments based on the positive aspects of this year’s report and the range of initiatives underway. He anticipates increased interest in NMU through the continued rollout of the new brand, efforts to increase online and off-campus programs announced by President Fritz Erickson and targeted growth initiatives being developed and implemented through a new enrollment management planning process.
“Overall, there is good reason to expect that Northern can counter the national trend of declining enrollment,” he said. “We plan to build on our quality programs and student experiences with an enhanced and further-reaching image that emphasizes compelling stories of courage and success demonstrated by students, alumni and employees.”