University reports greater economic diversity and more underrepresented students in freshman class

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 2:07pm

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus enrollment has seen increased economic diversity and higher numbers of underrepresented students.

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus enrollment has seen increased economic diversity and higher numbers of underrepresented students. Buy this photo
Amelia Cacchione/Daily

With another record number of applications submitted for the fall 2018 freshman class, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus enrollment has seen increased economic diversity and higher numbers of underrepresented students, according to a report published by University Public Affairs.

The University received an 8 percent increase in applications for the fall 2018 freshman class. More specifically, 64,917 applications were received, 14,818 were offered admission, and 6,695 enrolled, making a slightly smaller freshman class than last year. For in-state applicants, 40.5 percent of those who applied were offered admission. For out-of-state and international students, 18.8 percent were offered admission. Seventy-two percent of in-state freshmen accepted the admission offer and 31.8 percent of out-of-state or international students accepted the offer.

Erica Sanders, director of undergraduate admissions, discussed the rising levels of interest and applications each year, explaining the process used by admissions officers to accept incoming freshmen.

“We’re continually amazed and humbled by the level of interest in the University of Michigan, here in the state, across the country and internationally,” Sanders said in the release. “As has been the case for many, many years, we received applications from far greater numbers of qualified students than our campus is able to accommodate … We rely on our holistic review process to select students who not only have the academic record to succeed at U-M, but also a strong interest in our university and connection without institutional mission and goals.”

With University financial aid, about 26 percent of in-state undergraduates are paying no tuition this semester, which includes around 1,700 students who are included in the Go Blue Guarantee. This guarantee allows in-state students whose families earn less than $65,000 in annual income and who hold assets under $50,000 to attend the University free of tuition.

In the first year since the implementation of the Go Blue Guarantee, admissions applications from some of Michigan’s lowest-income household students increased by 24 percent. From this, there was a 6 percent increase in the fall freshman class of students whose household incomes are $65,000 or less.

“Through the Go Blue Guarantee and commitment to financial aid, we are sending a message to the people of our state and beyond that we seek to welcome students from all communities and backgrounds who have the talent and desire to be a Michigan Wolverine,” University President Mark Schlissel said in the release.

In addition to the Go Blue Guarantee, the number of undergraduates receiving Pell grants has increased to 17.9 percent from 16.5 percent in 2014.

According to the Office of Enrollment Management, in the fall 2018 freshman class 45 percent of in-state students and 68 percent of out-of-state students have family incomes of over $180,000. 19 percent of in-state students and 15 percent of out-of-state students have family incomes that are less than $65,000. These numbers are based on students who applied for financial aid, and students who did not apply for financial aid are included in the percentages of those whose family income is above $180,000.

In terms of underrepresented minorities and first-generation students, improvements were also seen in fall 2018 admissions data. Of new freshmen, 14.8 percent are underrepresented minorities, which equals 949 of 6,403 freshmen who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. This percentage is an increase from 13.9 percent in 2017 and 10 percent in 2014.

In 2017, the number of total underrepresented minorities in the fall 2017 freshman class increased marginally from the previous year. Black enrollment decreased marginally, Native students doubled, Hispanic enrollment increased by nearly 1 percent and Asian students decreased by 2.5 percent.

The report came out during the University’s First Gen Week. According to a 2016 campus climate survey, first-generation students make up 8 percent of the student University community.

Students who are the first in their family to attend a four-year college or university, comprise 14 percent of this fall’s freshman class, which is also an increase from the 11.3 percent total in 2014.

In addition, enrollment of transfer students increased this year by 14.6 percent. This fall 159 more students transferred to the Ann Arbor campus than in 2017, and this year there are 16.6 percent more transfer students who are underrepresented minorities than five years ago.

According to Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management, improving campus and enrollment diversity is something the University takes into account each admissions cycle and strives to continue to improve.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan, the University's program to increase diversity in all realms of University activity, is now in its third year and, according to Ishop, the University still has a way to go.

“We’re making progress in some areas and face challenges in others,” Ishop said in the release. “We have to continue to find legal solutions to provide the opportunity of a Michigan education to a diverse set of students. We’re not there yet.”

 

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