Preliminary fall semester enrollment count indicates Eastern Michigan University’s 2017 freshman class is third largest in University history

Incoming class displays strong academic preparation, diversity and international growth

Preliminary fall semester enrollment count indicates Eastern Michigan University’s 2017 freshman class is third largest in University history
Preliminary figures indicate that EMU will have the third largest incoming freshman class in University history.
  • Third largest incoming freshman class in University history
  • 30 percent of incoming class represent diverse students
  • Increasing numbers of international students
  • Improved academic standing with higher ACTs and GPAs

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University is preparing to enroll the third largest entering freshman class in its 168-year history.

While final enrollment numbers will not be available for several weeks, preliminary figures indicate that, as of today, 2,795 first-time freshmen are beginning their college education at Eastern this fall. Classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 6, with student move-in to begin tomorrow (Friday), Sept. 1.

The entering class continues Eastern’s momentum in recent years, in which the University has grown in freshman enrollment in the face of declining demographic trends for high school seniors in the state of Michigan. This year’s incoming class represents a 31 percent increase over the class size in fall 2011, when the University enrolled a total of 2,130 new freshmen.

The class also displays solid academic preparation and it spotlights the strong level of diversity to be found on Eastern’s campus. The enrollment also continues to reflect Eastern’s goal of aligning its academic programs with the state’s economic needs.

Kevin Kucera, vice president for enrollment management at EMU, said, “Eastern's quality academic programs, outstanding faculty and the career-readiness of our graduates have contributed to our unprecedented freshman growth, and to the tremendous gains in our academic profile.”

"Our investments in academic buildings, classroom technology, student housing and in campus dining options are helping to make Eastern more attractive to new students than ever,” Kucera said. “Prospective students and families continue to appreciate the high quality value of the EMU educational experience."

Higher GPAs and ACT scores

In addition to near record numbers, this year's incoming freshman class is well prepared academically, representing the highest average GPAs and ACT scores in recent history. The average GPA of incoming freshmen is 3.29, an increase from 3.12 in 2011. Average ACT scores have increased to 22.4 from 21.06 six years ago. The largest number of new incoming freshmen students fall into the 3.5 to 4.0 high school GPA category, increasing more than 7 percent from last year.

Increasing diversity

The entering freshman class also underscores the continuing level of diversity at Eastern. The number of newly enrolled African American (572), Hispanic (156), Native American (35) and Asian American freshmen (66), a total of 829 students, makes up 30 percent of the entering freshman class.

Honors College growth

The Honors College, which accepts students entering with typically at least a 25 ACT score and 3.5 high school GPA, continues to grow. As of today, the Honors College currently enrolls 1,634 students -- nearly double the number of students from six years ago.

More international and strong regional growth

International student enrollment in the entering freshman class showed a significant increase as well, rising 43 percent, from 42 students last year at this time to 60 so far this fall.

Kucera attributes that increase to a variety of factors, including EMU’s recent “You Are Welcome Here” campaign, directed at international students, along with President James Smith’s trip last spring to China, aimed at increasing awareness of EMU there and building further ties with Chinese universities. All told, Eastern enrolls nearly 1,000 international students from more than 80 countries.

In addition, the entering freshman class showed marked growth from last fall in students from out of state (excluding Ohio), increasing by 56 percent, from 98 last year to 153 for fall 2017, with increases in the number of students from Pennsylvania, Indiana and other states. Kucera indicated Eastern is seeing the benefits of the decision in summer 2016 to offer entering out of state students in-state tuition, a condition that previously extended only to Ohio students under a reciprocity agreement.

Factors influencing enrollment

Reasons cited for the continued strong entering class enrollment at Eastern include:

  • Students on University tours are taking notice of the $90 million Science Complex, which serves as the centerpiece of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at Eastern. This fall, the University is beginning renovations on adjacent Strong Hall, the third and final phase of the Science Complex. This past year, the Michigan legislature approved final funding for the project. The estimated cost to renovate Strong Hall is $40 million, with a funding mix of 75 percent state and 25 percent University.
  • Over the last nine years, Eastern has continually reinvested in improving its academic facilities and residence halls, along with upgrading classroom technology.
  • This past summer’s flurry of construction activity featured academic facility enhancements, improvements in campus safety and security, IT infrastructure and classroom technology, sustainability enhancements that will significantly reduce energy consumption/costs, as well as extensive improvements to Wise Residence Hall and further expansion and renovation of dining options.
  • Eastern has also recently invested in more advising services, including increasing staff and opening the Francine Parker Advising Center in the Student Center, and opening an additional financial aid walk-in center in McKenny Hall.
  • Affordability for students continues to be a priority.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

August 31, 2017

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Media Contact:
Geoff Larcom