MARQUETTE, Mich.— Northern Michigan University’s 10th day enrollment report shows a total headcount of 9,273, an increase of 15 students or 0.2 percent over last fall’s preliminary figure. Paul Duby, associate vice president forinstitutional research, said there are two categories driving the increase: continuing undergrads, which is up by 141, particularly at the senior level; and undergraduate transfers, who number 50 more than last year’s significant increase. “The pattern across the state in this economy is that more students are choosing to attend community college first,” Duby said. “That shows up in our transfer figures, but we were worried that this trend—on top of the daunting decline in high school graduates in the U.P.—would impact the number of baccalaureate first-time, full-time freshmen. There was a drop of 29 students in that group, but it wasn’t as big as we anticipated. We continue to get a bigger piece of the U.P. college-bound market.” Duby added that more freshmen are being regularly admitted, reflecting stronger academic credentials such as ACT scores and high school GPAs. A growing number, almost three-quarters, are voluntarily participating in the First Year Experience program, which is designed to ease the transition from high school to college and leads to improved academic performance and retention. The dip in freshmen and a nearly 7 percent decline in graduate students are offset in other areas. According to Marcelo Siles, director of international programs, international enrollment is up more than 27 percent to 90, thanks in large part to a contingent of 21 Chinese business students from Capital University of Economics and Business in Beijing. “Under the agreement we signed with the university, the students will spend their first two years in China,” Siles said. “They will finish their academic careers at NMU for the last two to three years, depending on their English abilities, and it’s possible some will stay on for the new MBA program. One of the officials from the Chinese university is in town to talk with the students about their experiences. We are carefully considering their feedback because we plan to continue the program and might expand it to other Chinese universities.” Duby said credit hours are projected to reach 124,500, which will be an all-time semester high. Northern’s top three academic programs, by number of majors, are: art and design, 707; nursing, 592; and criminal justice, 374. All have significantly higher enrollments than last fall. “We’ve also had good increases in biology, zoology and environmental conservation,” Duby added. “It’s too early to say for certain, but it could be a sign that NMU is gaining greater recognition for its environmental and science programs. It will be interesting to follow that as we move forward.” The number of students from other U.S. states fell overall, in large part because of decline of about 30 students each from the traditionally strong markets of Wisconsin and Illinois. And for the first time “in a long time,” Duby reports the number of male students at NMU increased while the female population decreased slightly.
September 8, 2010