Fall enrollment is sixth largest in history
Sept. 10, 2004
KALAMAZOO--After five years of trying to manage class size and record enrollment growth, Western Michigan University is settling into a fall semester with a total enrollment of 27,829--down from the record levels of previous years, but still the sixth largest number of students in university history.
A fall census completed earlier this week, shows an enrollment decrease of 4.6 percent compared to last year's fall enrollment of 29,178. WMU's budget planning for the 2004-05 year included an expected enrollment decline of between 2 and 3 percent. The final figure will lead University officials to examine whether to readjust enrollment management and marketing options for the upcoming year.
"We are disappointed with the decline this fall. However, we have grown significantly over the past several years," says WMU's Dr. Linda Delene, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "With the reduction in state funding, we have had to pay close attention to the size of our student body, so we can continue the quality of the educational experience we offer. Now we will use this fall to decide how we accomplish very targeted enrollment growth in the future."
WMU enrollment reached its highest level in fall 2002 with 29,732 students enrolled. In recent years, the university has slowly increased the academic profile of the freshman class, which last year boasted an average high school GPA of 3.3, up from 3.2 a decade ago. The number of beginning freshman this fall is 3,833, down from last year's 4,333.
Smaller enrollment declines for fall 2004 occurred in master's-level graduate enrollment, but the number of students pursuing doctoral degrees remained essentially unchanged. In recent years, the university's focus has been on growth and increased quality in its graduate programs.
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