Ferris State University officials announced that its Fall 2013 semester enrollment is 14,707 students, an increase of 174 from Fall 2012. The total includes 10,159 students on the Big Rapids campus, an increase of 120 students from the previous fall semester total of 10,039. That represents the highest total on the university's main campus since 1994.
Among Ferris' academic colleges, Engineering Technology increased by 148 students, to 2,063, while Business was up by 77 this fall, for a total of 2,777. The College of Education and Human Services increased by 39 students to 2,277. The College of Pharmacy was up by 26 students this fall. The colleges of Arts, Sciences and Education and Health Professions experienced enrollment drops of 189 and 124, respectively. Kendall College of Art and Design and the Michigan College of Optometry remained relatively flat as KCAD was down two students while MCO was up three.
Kristen Salomonson, dean of Enrollment Services, expressed excitement about a strong blend of quality incoming and returning students this fall.
"Our Fall 2013 enrollment demonstrates what an exciting time it is to be a part of Ferris State University," Salomonson said. "Ferris is a place where students feel welcome and know they will receive a great education that leads them to a successful career. Our first-year retention rate for bachelor's degree students is the highest it's been in our history."
The university's efforts to strengthen retention from year one to year two improved from 70 percent in Fall 2012 to 77 percent in Fall 2013 for full-time bachelor's degree students. For full-time associate degree students, the number remained flat, at 68 percent. Overall, Ferris improved retention from 69 percent, in Fall 2012, to 71 percent, in Fall 2013.
In areas of race and ethnicity, Ferris continues to diversify its student population. International student enrollment is up to 404 students, an increase of 82 students from Fall 2012. The number of students who identified themselves as "two or more races" is up by 72 for a total of 399. African American student enrollment was up by 50 students for a total of 1,005 this semester. Ferris has a total of 11,486 white students. That number increased by 96 during the last year.
Donald Green, vice president for Extended and International Operations, is excited about the growth in diversity and the role Ferris' international community is playing in that effort. Green sees the growth of Ferris' international community as a win for domestic students, international students and higher education.
"Recruiting quality international students is an opportunity for us to diversify the university community and expose our domestic students to different cultures from around the world," he said. "This is critical as we are preparing our students to work in a more diverse and globalized world that awaits them after they graduate.
"We have really worked to diversify campus by recruiting a higher number of students from different countries and nationalities," Green added as he noted an increase in the number of students from China, Finland, Germany and Korea. "Today, we have the most diverse international student population in the history of Ferris State University."
Off-campus enrollment is down slightly, by 10 students, but the number of student credit hours, for that same population, is up by 921. KCAD President David Rosen noted that the Grand Rapids-based school's Fall 2013 enrollment was relatively flat due to a slight decline in dual enrollment numbers. He noted, however, that the college is ahead in credit hours due to nearly a five-percent increase in FTIACs (first time in any college), which also jumped from five percent out of state to 13 percent out of state this year.
The number of Ferris FTIAC students has increased by 104 since Fall 2012. The mean ACT score for FTIAC students increased slightly to 21.8 while the mean high school grade point average was up slightly to 3.23.
"These results represent many hours of hard work by our faculty and staff that make Ferris an engaging place to learn," Salomonson said. "We are delighted that a record number of students are part of Ferris State University this fall."
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, Sciences and Education, Business, Education and Human Services, Engineering Technology, Health Professions, Kendall College of Art and Design, Michigan College of Optometry and Pharmacy.