Saginaw Valley State University experienced an enrollment decline consistent with projections for the fall 2014 semester, while the academic credentials of its entering freshmen rose reached an all-time high.
“The number of freshmen is down somewhat, mirroring the decline in high school graduates across Michigan, but we’re quite pleased that these freshmen comprise the best academically prepared class in our history,” said Deb Huntley, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
SVSU welcomed 1,502 freshmen this fall, down from 1,593 a year go, but the 2014 class arrived with high school GPA and ACT scores that are appreciably higher than previous years, including the 2013 class, which had been the best prepared entering cohort to date.
In all, SVSU has 9,829 students taking classes this semester, down from 10,245 a year ago. In addition to the decline in freshmen, SVSU continues to see falling numbers of teacher certification students and graduate students in the College of Education, due in large measure to changes in state regulations affecting K-12 educators. Compared to a year ago, there are 178 fewer graduate students and 61 fewer teacher certification students.
SVSU also is producing more graduates, leading to fewer returning students. SVSU saw record participation in May Commencement ceremonies, and to date, 1,144 students have completed degrees in 2014.
While the total number of students dropped 4.1 percent, the number of credit hours declined by just 2.8 percent, in keeping with budget projections. This is attributed in part due to undergraduate students taking larger course loads.
SVSU's residence halls are filled again this year. There are 2,722 students living on campus, including 73 percent of the freshman class.
Huntley cited international student enrollment as another bright spot.
“We have made it an institutional priority to increase and diversify our international student population, and this entering cohort of international students is a positive step in that direction,” she said.
SVSU welcomed 116 new international students this fall, up from 81 last year. In total, there are 630 international students attending SVSU, representing 37 different nations.
Fall classes at SVSU began Monday, Aug. 25.