The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor welcomed its largest-ever class of first-year students this fall, helping to push the Ann Arbor campus’ overall student body to more than 50,000 students for the first time in the university’s history.
Nearly 80,000 prospective first-year students applied to enroll at U-M this fall — close to 15,000 more than the previous year and the university’s largest ever applicant pool. The new class is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse in years, with 37 percent of first-year students identifying as persons of color.
Of those that applied, 16,071 were admitted. Of those admitted, 75 percent of in-state student and a third of out-of-state student enrolled, creating a first-year class of 7,290 students. That is more that 400 students larger than last year.
Adele Brumfield, vice provost for enrollment management, said the success can largely be attributed to the enrollment office’s versatility and willingness to adapt to the evolving needs of students during the pandemic, hosting more than 1,00 virtual events during the time.
“Students responded to the virtual recruitment experiences, which showcased the benefits of a U-M education and helped students imagine themselves as part of our community,” says Brumfield. “From what I have learned, collaboration increased, and partnerships were strengthened over the past year as the campus united to enroll the fall class of 2021.”
Total undergraduate enrollment increased by 3 percent from last fall, from 31,329 to 32,282 graduate students. In-state students account for 52 percent of the overall undergraduate student body. Graduate and professional school enrollment grew from 16,578 to 17,996, the highest total in U-M history.
The diversity of the class is due in large part to increases and the Latinx and Black student enrollment. Latinx student enrollment increased by 48 percent from last fall, while Black student enrollment increased by 32 percent.
“The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions speaks to the importance of enrolling a diverse group of students,” says Erica Sanders, director of undergraduate admissions. “While we continue to strive for improvement, our greater diversity this year is promising and underscores the value of offering a wide range of programs specifically geared toward recruiting and enrolling a diverse campus community.”
The university also saw an increase in diversity from transfer students. Transfers were up as a whole, jumping 8 percent to 1,407. The percentage of those students that identify as a person of color is up 55 percent over the past five years.
“Our transfer students with experience from other two- and four-year institutions bring unique perspectives that add value to the university,” says Brumfield. “Transfer students enrich the fabric of our campus.”
Enrollment leaders pointed the university’s substantial financial aid awards as catalyst for boosting enrollment. The university budget approved this summer included a 6.4 percent increase for financial aid.
The additional $15.5 million completely offset a 1.4 percent tuition increase for most in-state students with financial need. More than 9,000 in-state undergraduates receive institutional grant aid, including more than a quarter who attend tuition-free. Financial support grew during the pandemic to $8.6 million in institutional emergency relief funds to nearly 5,000 students.
“The university is committed to providing generous financial resources, which allows more students to choose U-M and thrive once they arrive here,” says Brumfield. “With the admissions season for fall 2022 in full swing, we’re looking to the future and recruiting the next talented and diverse class of Wolverines.”