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September 18, 2018

SVSU freshman class rises by 28 percent; gains in student retention seen, too

SOAR OrientationSaginaw Valley State University saw a dramatic increase in the size of its freshman class for the 2018-19 academic year, as the number of first-time students rose by 28 percent over the previous year.

“We enjoyed a very successful recruiting season because of a lot of hard work from many people in different offices across campus,” said Deborah Huntley, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are very pleased by the overall growth of the freshman class, especially when you consider the declining number of high school graduates in Michigan.”

SVSU enrolled 1,576 freshmen for the 2018 fall semester, compared to 1,229 last year. The current cohort is SVSU’s largest entering class since 2013.

“We have expanded our outreach efforts, and that has contributed to a growing awareness of the high quality of our academic programs,” Huntley said.

SVSU-sponsored scholarships and financial aid also played a role in attracting new students, as 88 percent of the freshman class received financial assistance other than loans.

“We recognize even our relatively low costs can present a barrier for students and families, so we have taken steps to help students meet their financial commitments,” Huntley said. “By expanding and restructuring our scholarship offerings and financial aid, we are able to support our students and provide access to a college degree, which is an important part of our mission as a public university.”

The academic preparedness of the 2018 freshman class mirrors last year’s class with an average high school GPA of 3.4.

SVSU also has seen a sharp rise in its student retention rate, which has improved to 77.4 percent, up from 74.4 percent last year. The rate has risen for five consecutive years, up from 70 percent in 2014.

“We are making great strides in student retention, as we continue to offer outstanding opportunities focused on student success,” Huntley said.

Overall enrollment at SVSU dipped slightly with 8,535 students taking classes for the current term, compared to 8,662 in 2017. SVSU has seen large graduating classes in recent years, which is a main reason for the decline.

Fall classes at SVSU began Monday, Aug. 27.