Applications to U-M Ann Arbor reach historic high

June 13, 2008
Contact: umichnews@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan received 29,794 applications from prospective freshmen for 2008, an 8.5 percent increase over last year and the highest number in University history. At the same time, applications from underrepresented minorities dropped slightly in what U-M officials predict is a temporary decline.

As of June 5, 12,533 students were offered admission to the University’s Ann Arbor campus.

The preliminary admission number for the freshman class represents a decrease of approximately 9 percent from the same time last year and reflects University efforts to manage the size of the 2008 entering class.

In recent years, the number of entering freshmen exceeded U-M’s ideal class size by several hundred. This year’s incoming class will be at or near the preferred size of 5,710. This allows the university to maintain a relatively constant undergraduate student body population, an important component of quality instruction.

“The application pool was extremely strong again this year,” said Theodore L. Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “We’re delighted that so many bright and talented students are interested in attending the University of Michigan.”

Of the 12,533 students who received admission offers, 6,045 have paid enrollment deposits. Enrollment deposits do not necessarily correspond to the number of students who attend class in the fall because some students choose not to officially enroll. The figure is used to track trends. Last year at this time, 46 percent of admitted students had paid a deposit; this year the number is 48.2 percent. U-M’s final enrollment figures for the class of 2012 will be available in October.

U-M continues its longstanding policy of meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all Michigan resident undergraduate students. “The University is a bargain for Michigan residents,” said Pamela Fowler, executive financial aid director. “We offer one of the largest pools of financial aid resources available at any public institution in the country.”

The 2007-2008 admissions cycle was the first full recruitment season since Michigan voters passed Proposal 2?an initiative prohibiting the consideration of race and gender in admissions decisions. When similar laws were passed in California and Washington, public universities experienced substantial drops in underrepresented minority student applications and admissions.

At U-M, the number of applications from underrepresented minorities fell 2.0 percent to 2,771 from last year. Of those who applied, 1,310 were admitted, an admission rate 2.3 percent lower than last year. Among underrepresented minorities, the percent of those admitted who have paid the enrollment deposit remains relatively constant. Last year at this time, 49.1 percent of admitted underrepresented students had paid a deposit; this year it is 48.3 percent. A year ago, underrepresented minorities accounted for 10.85 percent of the projected freshmen class. This year the number is relatively unchanged at 10.47 percent. Final numbers will be available in the fall.

At U-M, the term underrepresented minority is interpreted to include African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.

Applications from women increased 7.8 percent from last year to 14,551. The number admitted fell by 8.2 percent, a figure that closely mirrors the percent reduction in overall admission offers. Of those admitted, 48.1 percent have paid the deposit, an increase of 2.1 percent. The composition of the class will remain the same. Last year at this time 50.6 percent of the projected incoming class was women; this year the percentage is 50.9 percent.

“We are disappointed with any loss of ethnic or gender diversity in our student body. We know from research and experience that all students benefit from the opportunity to meet, study and work with people from diverse backgrounds,” said Lester Monts, senior vice provost for academic affairs, senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music.

“This year, as always, the dedicated staff of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Office of Financial Aid worked hard to encourage all qualified students to apply, and when admitted, to enroll,” Monts said. “The recruitment cycle for next year has already begun. We anticipate our efforts will take us successfully through this transition period.”

Recruiting for next fall’s 2008 class began early in June 2007 with kick-off events that welcomed to campus prospective students from underrepresented Michigan neighborhoods and high schools.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions uses the College Board’s geodemographic tool called Descriptor PLUS to identify high school clusters and neighborhoods that are underrepresented among the U-M student community. The office also hired additional staff to recruit students, and the admissions office in U-M’s Detroit Center expanded its weekend and evening hours of operation.

President Mary Sue Coleman and the University’s executive officers, along with staff, students and faculty, reached out personally to encourage admitted students to enroll. Coleman also met with Detroit area students and families at an admissions fair at Greater Grace Temple of Detroit.

U-M’s admissions review is a labor-intensive process, with admission officers reading each application individually. “Our holistic review process is labor-intensive,” Spencer said, “and allows us to assemble an outstanding freshman class, from varied backgrounds, that is intellectually dynamic, creative, and passionate about a variety of interests. I am confident that these students will thrive at the University; the entire community will benefit from their presence and unique contributions.”

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