Fall 2019 Enrollment Figures Show Strides Made in Attracting New Students

Ferris State University Football Game
Ferris State University students were all smiles at the Bulldog Football game on Thursday, Sept. 5 at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.

Ferris State University, celebrating its 135th anniversary, announced that Fall 2019 enrollment stands at 12,472 across all campuses – including 9,175 on the main campus in Big Rapids.

This fall’s fourth-day count enrollment total represents a 5.9-percent systemwide decrease, from Fall 2018, when the university welcomed 13,250 students. Inside this fall’s enrollment, Ferris made some gains in its ability to recruit first-year students, successfully. Dean of Enrollment Services Kristen Salomonson highlighted this freshmen class as one of Ferris’ largest in recent years.

“Our freshman enrollment jumped 2.5 percent this fall—it is our largest freshman class since Fall 2015 in one of the most competitive higher education markets in the nation,” Salomonson said. “Students are choosing Ferris for our academic programs, dedicated faculty, ample support services and a friendly environment that fosters success.”

On the Big Rapids campus, the number of first-year students enrolled stands at 1,810 – up from 1,766 to start the 2018-19 academic year. Overall, across all Ferris campuses, freshman enrollment increased by nine, to 1,897. Retention, first year to second year, was even, from Fall 2018, at 76 percent for full-time bachelor’s degree students and 69 percent for full-time associate degree students. Enrollment figures indicate small increases in the number of Native American, Hispanic and people of two or more races.

Overall, Big Rapids campus enrollment declined by 378 students, from Fall 2018, to 9175. Kendall College of Art and Design’s Fall 2019 enrollment is 875, down from last fall’s total of 1,011. Other off-campus locations experienced enrollment declines. Total non-KCAD off-campus fall enrollment is 1,561, down 181 and online enrollment is 861 – down 83.

In late August, Ferris kicked off the 2019-20 academic year with two-plus weeks of activities, Bulldog Beginnings, to welcome students to campus.

“We’re excited to begin the fall semester with one of our most academically prepared and diverse classes,” Salomonson said.

The Admissions office is excited to begin its process to recruit next year’s class.

“In early 2020, we will launch a new transfer student portal,” she said. “The portal will enable prospective transfer students the ability to estimate credits in real time, assist them in finding academic majors that are best for them and provide a clear step-by-step process to enroll.”