BIG RAPIDS – Students are back and the campus is bustling at Ferris State University, where officials are reporting another record fall enrollment.
The fastest-growing public university in Michigan, Ferris officials report there are 14,381 students enrolled system wide. With 516 more students attending classes in fall 2010 over 2009, this translates into a 3.6 percent enrollment increase system wide.
“These enrollment numbers are an exceptional start to the year,” said Fritz Erickson, Ferris provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Strong enrollment growth system wide demonstrates Ferris is offering courses that will prepare the future leaders of Michigan who in turn will help invigorate the state’s economy.”
Dean of Enrollment Services Kristen Salomonson noted the regular philosophy at Ferris is to merge classroom learning with practical experience. This, coupled with small class sizes and personal attention from faculty and staff, is reassuring to parents and students, she said.
“The Ferris experience is unique, and we’re pleased so many new and returning students are pursuing their education with us,” Salomonson added. “In this economy, the gateway to success is higher education and a degree. We want to make sure we’re doing our part to help the state and its residents.”
The Ferris family is committed to its mission of ensuring educational opportunities for all students, Ferris Director of Financial Aid Rob Wirt said. Financial Aid has increased this year to accommodate the rising number of students applying for assistance.
“Financial Aid staff have been working tirelessly to ensure these applications are processed accurately and efficiently,” Wirt added. “The numbers have faces. I am incredibly proud of the Financial Aid team for the continued work they do helping families who have not given up on the dream of a higher education.”
The growing financial need of students is why the university kicked off its Opportunity@125 initiative in the spring of 2009, said Vice President for University Advancement and Marketing John Willey. Expanding scholarship aid to give students the opportunity of a Ferris education is at the top of Ferris’ list of priorities.
“Almost any time in living memory, effective education is as important to individual students as it is to the future of the country,” Willey said. “We hope that Ferris State alumni and friends will be generous partners in helping build educational opportunities through their gifts to scholarships so that students can build the perspectives and skills so critical for a new, productive economy in Michigan and nationwide.
“Ferris’ greatest legacy is in the lives of graduates who know how to get things done. Now, Ferris State University is the very institution the times demand and students deserve – if they are supported,” he added.
By the Numbers
Besides its main campus in Big Rapids, Ferris offers degree programs in Grand Rapids through the College of Professional and Technological Studies, and at Kendall College of Art and Design, and at more than 16 off-campus locations throughout Michigan.
Enrollment has increased by 66 students at the university’s Big Rapids campus, with 9,931 students enrolled. At the College of Professional and Technological Studies campus in Grand Rapids enrollment is 322 students, a 30 percent increase over 2009.
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University set its own record enrollment with 1,419 students, marking the 15th consecutive year of enrollment increases.
“It is gratifying to see how much the programs we offer are resonating with students,” KCAD President Oliver Evans said. “With faculty who are professional artists and an atmosphere that promotes creativity, Kendall attracts some of the most talented young artists and designers around.”