ANN ARBOR—As the University of Michigan prepares to implement the Go Blue Guarantee—offering four years of free tuition for in-state students from families with annual income up to $65,000 starting in January 2018—it remains a top choice among prospective students and families.
The campus had another record number of outstanding applicants for fall 2017, up 7.9 percent from the previous year. From an all-time high of 59,886 applications, U-M offered admission to 15,871 freshmen. Of those offered admission, 6,847 enrolled, making for a freshman class slightly larger than anticipated.
Among in-state students, 44.5 percent of the 11,489 students who applied were offered admission and 3,537 in-state freshmen enrolled for a yield of 69.1 percent. That compares to an admit rate of 22.2 percent of 48,397 out-of-state and international students who were offered admission. Among those, 3,310 enrolled for a yield of 30.8 percent.
"We continue to see strong interest in the University of Michigan, with applications from highly qualified, extremely talented and very passionate students," said Erica Sanders, director of undergraduate admissions. "In our holistic evaluative process, academic excellence remains the most important component. Likewise, a student's interest in the university and fit with our institutional mission and goals have become increasingly critical in distinguishing top candidates among such a large and qualified pool."
Overall, campus enrollment grew 2.9 percent over fall 2016 to 46,002 students, with 29,821 undergraduates and 16,181 graduate and professional school students.
In June, the U-M Board of Regents approved the landmark Go Blue Guarantee, which provides four years of free tuition to in-state students with family incomes up to $65,000 on the Ann Arbor campus. The guarantee also will apply to all eligible enrolled students starting in January.
The university also offers generous support based on calculated need for in-state students from families with incomes up to $180,000. Students from very low-income families can receive up to the full cost of attendance.
The initiative builds on the HAIL Scholarship pilot program, which likewise provides free tuition to in-state students and brought 221 low-income in-state freshmen and 41 transfer students to campus this fall in its second year.
Transfer student enrollment is up this fall by 2.6 percent to 1,087 students, with 27 more students transferring to the Ann Arbor campus than in fall 2016. This year's transfer students include more underrepresented minorities (12.1 percent) and first-generation students (26.3 percent) and a greater fraction come from low- and middle-income families (46.7 percent) than five years ago.
U-M increased the amount of financial aid provided to undergraduate students by 10.6 percent over fall 2016, to a total of $176.7 million. Over the past five years, the general fund budget for undergraduate financial aid of all types has grown at an annual rate of more than 11 percent, significantly outpacing the 3.2 percent annual growth rate in tuition.
Progress over time: 2013-2017
The fall 2017 freshman class welcomes 1,017 students receiving federal Pell Grants. The percentage of first-year students eligible for and receiving federal Pell Grants is 15.6 percent, up from 14.5 percent in the fall 2013 freshman class. Pell Grants are designed to help low-income students attend college.
These figures represent progress over time to increase enrollment of these talented and deserving students, said Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management. U-M is a founding member of the American Talent Initiative, an alliance of colleges and universities with high graduation rates dedicated to increasing college access to low-income students.
"The university has taken numerous actions to ensure access and affordability for low- and moderate-income in-state students, while maintaining our high academic profile," Ishop said.
In addition, undergraduate enrollment shows promising improvement over five years among underrepresented minorities, first-generation students and low-income students.
Of the 6,847 freshmen students arriving on campus this fall, 906 underrepresented minorities make up 13.9 percent of the class, an increase from 10.6 percent in 2013. Underrepresented minorities total 12.8 percent of the undergraduate student body and include these ethnicities: Black, Hawaiian, Hispanic, Native American, and two or more underrepresented minorities.
"We continue to be committed to, while challenged by, achieving greater racial and ethnic diversity in our student body in our restrictive admissions environment," Ishop said. "While we have seen overall increases over time, we have to remain steadfast and focused on changes that lead to increased representation and help achieve our goals for a more diverse and inclusive campus."
First-generation students make up 12.4 percent of the freshman class, up from 10.9 percent five years ago. First-generation students are those who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents whose parents or guardians did not earn a bachelor's degree. To better serve these students, U-M has recently opened a First Generation Student Gateway office.
The university has a freshman retention rate of 97 percent compared to 64 percent nationally, and a six-year graduation rate of 91 percent, one of the highest in the nation and well above the national average rate of 59 percent.