MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University’s 10th day enrollment report shows the number of new first-time, full-time freshmen has increased nearly 11 percent, or 146, over last year. The boost of incoming students helps to minimize some of the overall headcount decline attributed to smaller class sizes in recent years, along with a large graduating class last May.
“Successfully recruiting a higher number of freshmen is important because it establishes a foundation for continued growth,” said Jason Nicholas, director of Institutional Research and Analysis. “Retaining students who’ve already made the decision to come here is equally important, and Northern is doing that successfully. Retention is the highest it’s ever been, with 75 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen returning to campus the following fall.”
President Fritz Erickson said the university has increased its appeal to prospective students through new and redesigned academic programs, new residence halls and enhanced marketing and recruiting efforts. He said national media exposure related to the attributes of the Marquette area and to weatherman Al Roker’s Today show broadcast from campus also helped raise the university’s profile.
“In addition to traditional enrollment, the university serves many more individuals through innovative continuing education programs and the Educational Access Network,” Erickson said. “The EAN is a game changer, delivering educational broadband to Upper Peninsula communities through the university’s high-speed LTE wireless network. As we continue to expand the EAN to more U.P. communities via existing infrastructure and partnerships with municipalities and school districts, we extend educational access to more people in rural areas.”
Northern’s total traditional student headcount is 7,612, a decrease of 1.8 percent from fall 2016. Other segments showing positive strides—in addition to freshmen—are new transfer students, first-time graduate students and students earning NMU credits at their high schools.
When traditional enrollment is combined with those participating in the Educational Access Network, continuing education and Middle College programs and the Public Safety Institute, Erickson said NMU expects to serve more than 11,000 individuals this year.