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October 16, 2020

SVSU enrollment shows gains in student retention and graduate programs

SVSU GatewaySaginaw Valley State University reported solid enrollment numbers for the 2020 fall semester, given the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. SVSU has 8,030 students taking classes this fall, a drop of 2.8% from last year’s total enrollment of 8,265. The university saw encouraging improvement in student retention and an increase in the number of graduate students. 
SVSU’s retention rate improved to 77.4%, an increase from 74.1% last year and 70 percent in 2014. Earlier this year, the university made a concerted effort to contact current students, many of whom left campus abruptly when the pandemic hit in March. 
“I would like to thank the many faculty and staff who reached out to students over the summer months to encourage them to stay on course to finish their degrees. Our region and our state need our students’ work ethic and their talents to contribute to Michigan’s recovery, and I’m pleased to see so many of them remain on track to complete their degrees and begin their careers,” said Don Bachand, SVSU president. 
SVSU also recorded a 6.3% increase in graduate students, compared to last year, as the total number of students pursuing advanced degrees rose from 775 to 824. The Master of Public Health program introduced in 2018 continues to show growth, as does the postgraduate program for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners begun in 2019. SVSU also saw more students pursuing MBA and Education Specialist degrees. 
“After careful study and consultation with regional employers, we have added high-demand graduate programs in recent years, and we’re pleased to see strong interest for them, particularly in careers that are critical to the health of individuals and communities,” Bachand said. 
SVSU froze tuition for the current academic year and continues to have the lowest tuition among Michigan’s state universities. 
The number of incoming freshmen fell from 1,470 to 1,382, a decline of 6%. 
Fall classes at SVSU began Monday, Aug. 31 with a mix of in-person, hybrid and online courses offered.