September 27, 2016

SVSU sees enrollment dip, but encouraging signs in freshman class, retention numbers

Saginaw Valley State University experienced an enrollment decline for the 2016 fall semester, but leaders are encouraged by trends involving the incoming freshman class and student retention.

“We enrolled our most academically well-prepared freshman class in our history this fall, and that is good news,” said Deb Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Faculty and staff have taken a more active role in student recruitment over the past year, and their work is paying off. The number of domestic freshmen is nearly on par with last year, despite a decline in the number of high school graduates in Michigan.”
            
The entering freshman class has a cumulative high school GPA of 3.39 and an average score of
22.5 on the ACT, which was still the most common college entrance exam for this student cohort. SVSU welcomed 1,301 first-time students from the U.S. this fall, compared to 1,331 in 2015.

SVSU also saw an increase in the number of students who returned for their second year on campus, as its retention rate improved to 74 percent from 69 percent over the past five years, moving toward SVSU’s institutional goal of 78 percent.

SVSU’s retention rate has been improving slowly and steadily in recent years, but Huntley said this year-to-year progress is very encouraging, because it shows holistic efforts to support students are proving to be effective.

“We still have room to grow,” she said, “but we are on the right track.”

Overall enrollment dropped to 9,165 students taking classes at SVSU for the 2016 fall semester, compared to 9,766 last year.

There are 718 international students at SVSU this fall, which is higher than it was two years ago, but down compared to last year’s record number of 920.

“We saw an unusually large increase in the number of international freshmen last year, prompted by the earthquake in Nepal and other factors,” Huntley said. “Many of these students did not return, primarily due to financial reasons. Despite this, we remain on track toward our target of having international students comprise approximately 10 percent of our student body.”