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WMU enrollment edges up past previous year's total

by Cheryl Roland

Sept. 16, 2011 | WMU News

KALAMAZOO--The size of the Western Michigan University student body inched up this fall, and the official 2011 enrollment tally stands at 25,086.

Photo of WMU students in classroom.
The fall census, which was conducted Sept. 14, shows an overall gain of 41 students over last year's figure of 25,045. The final count confirmed the accuracy of a campus forecast committee that for several months has predicted stable enrollment or a slight increase for the year.

The 2011 census illustrates a number of emerging enrollment trends--fewer beginning students, more transfer students, more nonresident students and growing diversity, with strong increases in the number of both minority and international students. The fall numbers also show dramatic growth in the number of students taking online courses as well as continued increase in the number of students qualified to enroll in the Lee Honors College.

"Our students are bright, slightly older, diverse, technically savvy and globally connected," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "The influx of international students reflects the regard in which this University is held around the world."

Some of the enrollment trends reflect the ongoing annual decrease in the number of graduating high school seniors in Michigan that began in 2007-08 and will continue through 2014. Also reflected is the growth in community college enrollment that brings students to the University later in their academic careers. The small increase in WMU's total population this fall means the size of both the undergraduate and graduate student populations is stable.

Notable items from the fall census

The Lee Honors College saw a 3 percent increase in the number of beginning students, adding to that college's better than 40 percent enrollment increase over the past three years.