Ferris State University announced its Fall 2012 Semester enrollment figures on Friday, Aug. 31. This year’s fall numbers feature a total of 14,533 students enrolled systemwide at Ferris, a figure that includes 10,039 students on the Big Rapids campus – the highest main campus total since 1994.
The systemwide total of 14,533 represents a small drop of 27 students since the 14,560 total the university announced in Fall 2011. Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design announced an enrollment increase of 47 students to a total of 1,461. The university’s number of student credit hours is up by approximately 1,393. Kristen Salomonson, dean of Enrollment Services, said that she was encouraged by this fall’s enrollment numbers, considering the challenges currently faced by families, students and higher education.
“Overall, we’re very pleased with the numbers we’ve compiled for this fall, when you consider the challenging environment for higher education and with the state of the economy,” she said. “Our numbers in Big Rapids and at Kendall are up, and our numbers online are up as well. Despite being down 27 students overall, systemwide, we’re up almost 1,400 in student credit hours – that represents the highest number of student credit hours at Ferris since 1993.”
Daniel Burcham, vice president for Student Affairs, was pleased with the university’s recruitment efforts to strengthen the student population on the Big Rapids campus.
“I think the growth that we see with our student population on the Big Rapids campus is one of the real bright spots within these numbers,” he said. “The numbers in Big Rapids reflect the strength of our focused efforts with regard to recruitment and retention. The main campus is an emphasis for us, as it is the center of Ferris’ statewide system.”
“Having more than 10,000 students on the main campus is great for our campus quality of life for students, and for the Big Rapids community,” Salomonson said.
While growth was experienced on Ferris’ main campus, off-campus locations were down 180 students from 2,383 to 2,203.
University officials were pleased with the increase in diversity reflected in this fall’s enrollment figures. The number of African American students is up 5 percent since 2011, rising from 909 to 955; the Hispanic student enrollment showed a 7-percent increase, from 423 to 452; and the number of international students grew by 42 percent, with 96 more enrolled for a total of 322 this term. Additionally, the number of students categorized as “two or more races” is up by 84 to 327.
“The numbers we see with our international student growth are great,” said Donald Green, vice president for Extended and International Operations. “Ferris has shown a strong interest in bringing globalization to the university. This allows our domestic students to have positive interactions with students from different cultures and different religions in a diverse educational environment.”
Said Burcham, “We’re seeing a stronger emphasis in our international recruiting efforts. This has been led by the great work of Don Green and his team. Overall, we have what some people might see as a surprisingly diverse population, and we continue to become increasingly diverse.”
Kendall’s enrollment reflects growth in dual enrollment programs, which allow high school students to take KCAD courses at their local high schools. Kendall president David Rosen noted growth in Bachelor of Fine Arts programs in Collaborative Design, Fashion Studies and Medical Illustration, a joint program with Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine.
Ferris State University is a four-year public university with campuses in Big Rapids, Grand Rapids and satellite campuses across the state of Michigan. Ferris offers more than 180 educational programs, including doctorates, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, through eight academic colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, Kendall College of Art and Design, Michigan College of Optometry and Pharmacy.