YPSILANTI, Mich., Aug. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eastern Michigan University is preparing to enroll the third largest entering freshman class in its 168-year history.
While final enrollment numbers will not be available for several weeks, preliminary figures indicate that, as of today, 2,795 first-time freshmen are beginning their college education at Eastern this fall. Classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 6.
The entering class continues Eastern's momentum in recent years, in which the University has grown in freshman enrollment in the face of declining demographic trends for high school seniors in the state of Michigan. This year's incoming class represents a 31 percent increase over the class size in fall 2011, when the University enrolled a total of 2,130 new freshmen.
The class also displays solid academic preparation and it spotlights the strong level of diversity to be found on Eastern's campus. The enrollment also continues to reflect Eastern's goal of aligning its academic programs with the state's economic needs.
Kevin Kucera, vice president for enrollment management at EMU, said, "Eastern's quality academic programs, outstanding faculty and the career-readiness of our graduates have contributed to our unprecedented freshman growth, and to the tremendous gains in our academic profile."
Higher GPAs and ACT scores
In addition to near record numbers, this year's incoming freshman class is well prepared academically, representing the highest average GPAs and ACT scores in recent history. The average GPA of incoming freshmen is 3.29, an increase from 3.12 in 2011. Average ACT scores have increased to 22.4 from 21.06 six years ago. The largest number of new incoming freshmen students fall into the 3.5 to 4.0 high school GPA category, increasing more than 7 percent from last year.
The entering freshman class also underscores the continuing level of diversity at Eastern. The number of newly enrolled African American (572), Hispanic (156), Native American (35) and Asian American freshmen (66), a total of 829 students, makes up 30 percent of the entering freshman class.
Honors College growth
The Honors College, which accepts students entering with typically at least a 25 ACT score and 3.5 high school GPA, continues to grow. As of today, the Honors College currently enrolls 1,634 students -- nearly double the number of students from six years ago.
More international and strong regional growth
International student enrollment in the entering freshman class showed a significant increase as well, rising 43 percent, from 42 students last year at this time to 60 so far this fall.
Kucera attributes that increase to a variety of factors, including EMU's recent "You Are Welcome Here" campaign, directed at international students, along with President James Smith's trip last spring to China, aimed at increasing awareness of EMU there and building further ties with Chinese universities. All told, Eastern enrolls nearly 1,000 international students from more than 80 countries.