First-time freshmen enrollment increases

First-time+freshmen+enrollment+increases

Tim Eggert

According to NMU’s 10th day enrollment report, the incoming first-time freshman class has increased whereas first-time graduate numbers have decreased for the second consecutive year.

Specifically, new first-time freshmen have increased by 7.1 percent, new first-time transfer students are up 19.9 percent and new first-time graduates are down 14.5 percent from last year. Continuing graduate students have also decreased by 77, or 17.7
percent.

“It’s also notable that the number of incoming freshmen seeking bachelor degrees has increased by 208 students; that’s about 20 percent higher than last year,” Director of institutional research and analysis Jason Nicholas said in a press release. “Attracting more freshmen helps to offset the smaller class sizes from previous years that have now reached junior and senior standing.”

Although incoming freshmen and transfers have increased, total university head count is down due to a smaller senior class.

With a total of 1,608 first-time freshmen this semester, this year’s freshman class increased by 107 students in comparison to last year. The total enrollment head count stands at 7,595, a decrease of 0.2 percent.

“The increase is mostly reflective of national interest in NMU,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said in an interview. “People are really excited about these new programs, but we need to do some work on graduate programs.”

Erickson added that the newly introduced medicinal plant chemistry program, the NMU Forensic Research Outdoor Station (FROST) and the NMU Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training School, specifically, have contributed to the boost in first-time freshmen.

“We measure ourselves by who we include, not who we exclude,” Erickson said. “I see a real opportunity in the future for the marriage of traditional four-year programs to career and technology programs.”

The 10th day enrollment report also shows that the Education Access Network (EAN) gained more than 2,000 new subscribers and NMU is serving 13,374 community members overall.

Two years of increased enrollment, new academic programming and expanding the EAN were reasons cited by the Board of Trustees in July for approving Erickson’s 46.9 percent base salary increase and $50,000 bonus.