Published in Tech Today
by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations
Enrollment rose again this school year, topping last year’s number by 118 students. Fall enrollment figures tallied last night totaled 7,132.
A surge in Graduate School enrollment accounted for the increase, including increasing enrollment of international graduate students. The Graduate School reported 1,189 students, the most ever and a 21-percent increase over fall 2008. The number of international graduate students is up more than 17 percent.
“This is the highest headcount since 1983,” said President Glenn Mroz. “It shows that, increasingly, students see a Michigan Tech education as a high-return investment providing them with skills in great demand in our competitive world. Our strategic plan calls for increasing our graduate offerings while maintaining the size of undergraduate enrollment in high-demand science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. That is a critical way to provide the advanced training that will support the expansion of the entrepreneurial knowledge economy in Michigan.
“But to accomplish those goals,” Mroz continued, “something must be done about the issue of state funding. We are educating 40 percent more students than we did 40 years ago with the same level of state support.”
Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of the Graduate School, said she is extremely pleased to see such a large increase in graduate enrollment this year. “This shows that everyone at Michigan Tech is committed to increasing the size and quality of our graduate programs, in accordance with the University’s strategic plan,” she said. “It is because of our outstanding faculty, staff and current students that we are able to attract so many students from around the world.”
The record graduate student numbers include approximately 100 nondegree-seeking automotive engineers enrolled in a special advanced propulsion technology course offered in Detroit by Michigan Tech and the Engineering Society of Detroit.
Among undergraduates, the average ACT score of entering first-year students rose to 26.0 this year. The ACT score is one of Tech’s key indicators in achieving its strategic goal of attracting outstanding students, faculty and staff.
“We are attracting an academically more talented freshman class,” said John Lehman, assistant vice president for enrollment. “That indicates that our scholarship and financial aid programs are doing what they are supposed to do, enabling those who have need and are strong academically to attend Michigan Tech.”
The percentage of new female students at Tech also rose, from 23 percent last year to 26 percent this year. The University also saw a 9.8-percent increase in undergraduate transfer students, reflecting Michigan Tech’s enhanced efforts to reach out to community college students.
Undergraduate enrollment fell by 90 students this fall, to 5,943, although the number of transfer students rose by almost 10 percent. “The decrease is relatively minor and mostly related to the economy,” Lehman said. “Our undergraduate enrollment still stands well above totals from 2004 to 2007.”