'U' officials: This year's application numbers up

BY JOSEPH LICHTERMAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 11, 2010

Undergraduate applications to the University for the 2010-2011 academic year have increased across the board for in-state students, out-of state students, international students and underrepresented minorities, University officials said recently.

"We have received more than 31,000 freshman applications for fall and summer terms 2010,” Erica Sanders, director of recruitment and operations in the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, wrote in an e-mail interview.

The University received 29,965 applications for admission for the 2009-2010 academic year. Last fall, 14,970 of those who applied were accepted and 6,079 of those students decided to enroll at the University.

Because the deadline to send in deposits is May 1, officials would only release the number of applicants, not the yield — the percentage of those admitted who have accepted their admission offers and sent in their deposits.

“Anything we say now about yield is complete speculation,” University President Mary Sue Coleman said in an interview last month.

University Provost Teresa Sullivan said in an interview last month that the University has also seen an increase in the number of applications from underrepresented minority students.

This was positive news, Sullivan said, as underrepresented minority enrollment in the fall 2009 freshman class was down 11.4 percent, the third straight class with a decline in underrepresented minority enrollment at the University.

“In terms of numbers, I can tell you that we’re up in every category, including, I’m pleased to say, underrepresented minority students,” Sullivan said.

Though there was also an increase in the number of minority applicants last year, there was still the decrease in the number of minority students who chose to enroll.

It is unclear at this point in the process whether the increase in applications from underrepresented minority students will translate to increases in the number of underrepresented minorities who are admitted and ultimately end up enrolling at the University.

Sullivan added that international applications are up for the second year in a row. Though specific numbers haven’t yet been released, applicants from China and India made up the largest increase in last year’s international application pool.

“We also had an increase in international applicants again, which is still kind of surprising to me,” Sullivan said. “But that was kind of unlooked for last year and that trend has continued.”

Both Coleman and Sullivan said they expect the traditional ratio of resident to non-resident students to remain constant for next year’s incoming class as well. Typically, two-thirds of admitted students are from Michigan, while one-third is from out-of-state.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any change to the usual admissions formula, which is roughly two-thirds (in-state), one-third (out-of-state), adjusted for the yield because our yield is generally lower on non-resident students,” Sullivan said.

Coleman acknowledged, however, that there have been discussions regarding altering that ratio as a means to increase revenue, as out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates. Tuition for full-time lower division LSA students is $17,374 per semester for the current academic year for out-of-state students, compared to $5,735 per semester for in-state students.

“I don’t see any big change,” Coleman said. “It’s a possibility for the future, but it’s not something we’re contemplating right now.”

Coleman added that the University wouldn’t alter its academic standards in order to alter the ratio of in-state to out-of-state students.

“One of the things that I always want to be aware of is that we never want to have somehow worse academically prepared students from out-of-state than in-state,” Coleman said. “That’s not acceptable.”

With the rise in applicants in all categories, the quality of the applicant pool has increased as well, Coleman said.

“It’s encouraging because we always want Michigan to be a school that people aspire to attend,” Coleman said. “As far as I can tell, I don’t have any detailed breakdowns yet, but I’ve been told that the quality is very, very high. (Incoming) students are extremely well prepared.”

University officials are expected to release final figures regarding the composition of the incoming freshman class within the next few months.