EMU enrollment picture continues to improve; housing, dining services see significant gains for new semester
YPSILANTI — It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish.
That old adage that may be very applicable to Eastern Michigan University’s enrollment picture for the new fall semester. With 159 years of tradition, EMU is like the strong turtle making consistent strides in the right direction.
“We achieved great gains in enrollment this summer, as many at EMU worked hard to increase our enrollment and reach out to returning and new students,” said Susan Martin, president of EMU. “We are a warm and welcoming campus with good food, housing, and great academic programs, and the results in enrollment are beginning to be realized."
Martin said new double beds and flat-panel television screens in common areas are some of the more notable updates being added to residence halls.
“These changes help make students feel comfortable and at home to sprawl out and study,” Martin said.
“I am excited that 20 percent of our undergraduates are African Americans and 31 percent of our freshman class is African American. We have almost a thousand international students from countries around the world,” she said.
At the end of April 2008, EMU's projection of enrollment for fall semester was down by 8 percent, but since that time has made significant gains. Currently, total enrollment is down 3 percent. As of Sept. 12, EMU had 21,926 students, who are taking 228,443 credit hours. In 2007, there were 22,638 students (both undergraduate and graduate) who took 235,305 credit hours.
“Our housing is at a greater occupancy than last year and our dining services have experienced a marked growth in sales,” said Bernice Lindke, interim vice president for student affairs and enrollment services.
There are 385 students living in University-operated apartments, a 20 percent increase from last year. This fall, there are 2,927 students living in residence halls, level with last year.
Campus dining services has experienced a significant growth in sales of more than $85,000, or 38 percent, in just the first few weeks of the fall semester.
Martin said improved residence halls, good food and rising gas prices are key reasons EMU’s residence halls are making gains in occupancy.
Two enrollment categories have seen increases for fall.
Thanks in large part to the implementation of the Early College Alliance, which allows students to be dual enrolled in high school and college, there are 77 new undergraduate students at EMU. That is 50 more for that category than last year, or an increase of 185 percent.
For graduate students, new admits increased 4 percent, from 1,187 in 2007 to 1,239. More graduate students led to an increase of 6 percent in new graduate credit hours, from 7,832 to 8,287.
“I have issued a 5,000-credit-hour challenge to the campus to begin rebuilding our enrollment, which is down about 50,000 credit hours from its peak of 567,995 in 2002-03. Our state appropriation increased 1 percent this year but, at $78 million, it is still $9 million less than the $87 million it peaked at a few years ago," said Martin. “Our future fiscal stability lies in a stable pattern of enrollment growth and to increase our endowments and sponsored research, grants and contracts. More importantly, Michigan needs EMU graduates who stay in Michigan to help turn this state economy around, as more than 80 percent of alumni stay in this great state "
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.