Student body diversity increases marginally for fall 2017 freshman class

Thursday, October 26, 2017 - 5:33pm

With the January deadline for the implementation of the Go Blue Guarantee free tuition pledge on the horizon, the University of Michigan posted a record number of applicants in figures released Thursday morning. The University also saw increased enrollment of underrepresented minority students and students receiving federal Pell Grants. Overall, campus enrollment increased 2.9 percent from last year to 46,002 students, with 29,821 undergraduates and 16,181 graduate and professional school students.

The University also increased the amount of financial aid provided to undergraduate students by 10.6 percent, totaling $176.7 million. This aid is available to students with family incomes of up to $180,000.

Announced in June, the new Go Blue Guarantee program functions as the administration’s commitment to free tuition for in-state students from families with incomes less than $65,000. Approximately half of in-state families are expected to qualify. First-generation students also make up 12.4 percent of the freshman class. A First Generation Student Gateway, replete with a study lounge, meeting area and information hub, opened earlier this month to serve the needs of this student population.

The guarantee and demographic increases come after a report by the Equality of Opportunity Project, which ranked the University last behind other prestigious public colleges in the category of social mobility. One in 100 students at the University are from the top 1 percent of income distribution.

The out-of-state portion of the student body increased by 1 percent. Out-of-state students make up 49.3 percent of the student body, while in-state students comprise 50.6 percent.

The University has shown increased enrollment over five years among underrepresented minorities, first-generation students and low-income students — but the total share of the student body only increased by 0.1 percent since last fall. Underrepresented minorities constitute 12.8 percent of the undergraduate student body, in comparison to 22.3 percent of the undergraduate student body at Michigan State University.

In a statement to the University Record, Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management, noted the gradual increase in minority student enrollment over the past five years. Out of 6,847 freshmen students arriving on campus this fall, 906 underrepresented minorities make up 13.9 percent of the class, an increase from 10.6 percent in 2013.

Broken down by demographics, Black student enrollment in the class of 2022 decreased marginally; Hispanic enrollment increased by close to 1 percent; the Native population doubled to 0.17 percent of the class; and Asian enrollment dipped by 2.5 percent. 

However, Ishop further emphasized the importance of continuing to work toward greater diversity on campus.

"We continue to be committed to, while challenged by, achieving greater racial and ethnic diversity in our student body in our restrictive admissions environment," she said.

Furthermore, the fall 2017 freshmen class consists of 1,017 students receiving federal Pell Grants — about 15.6 percent of the freshmen class, up from 14.5 percent in the fall 2013 class.

Enrollment grew this fall with a 7.9 percent increase in applicants from the previous year and topping out at 59,886 received applications.