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University reports fourth consecutive summer enrollment record

BIG RAPIDS - Students are hitting the books this summer at Ferris State University, with 5,358 students attending classes system wide. This is the fourth consecutive year enrollment has been up during summer semester for the University.

At this time last year, enrollment system wide was 5,091 students. University officials attribute continuing growth to several factors, including a free summer room and board initiative; and the addition of three, four-week summer class sessions.

"The four-week summer session courses have been very popular among students,” said Craig Westman, Ferris associate dean of Enrollment Services and director of Admissions and Records. "Students are taking advantage of the opportunity to take additional courses during the summer months."

Traditionally, the trend has been for students to go home immediately after spring session classes ended, Westman said. Students now have a free place to stay while earning course credits before going home to work.

Added Ferris President David Eisler, "Summer enrollment helps students complete their degrees in a timely fashion. Our relaxed and friendly environment is a perfect setting for summer study."

Looking to the fall, University officials hope to continue the trend of setting record levels of enrollment. Currently, enrollment statistics show applications for fall 2007 semester are more than 12,000, which is more than 1,000 over the same time period during 2006.

However, strong growth is not only being seen campus wide but in programs within the University such as Honors. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Honors program students will have a choice of living in one of four different residence halls devoted to providing an environment most conducive to their academic goals.

A record number of first-year Honors students this fall also will have the benefit of a peer mentoring program that will be more intensive than in previous semesters. The upperclassman mentors, approximately 25 strong, will now live in the same hall as their mentoring group. For the first six weeks of the semester, mentors will help their charges with everything from registration to meeting their peers and learning their way around campus.

Since 1997, the Honors program has grown from an initial enrollment of 132 to nearly 600 by providing resources and support for some of the University’s most highly-motivated students. The program challenges those students with cultural, academic, volunteer and leadership opportunities.

Besides its main campus in Big Rapids, Ferris offers degree programs in Grand Rapids at the Applied Technology Center and Kendall College of Art and Design, and at more than 20 off-campus locations throughout Michigan.