Ferris State University officials are reporting positive enrollment numbers systemwide for the Spring 2012 Semester.
Systemwide, Ferris’ student population is up by 162 students from the Spring 2011 Semester to 13,705 students – an increase of 1 percent. The majority of the growth between the spring semesters is in online education where that number of students has increased by 147 to a total of 789 for Spring 2012. The enrollment figures drew a positive reaction from Fritz Erickson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Erickson noted that the collaborative nature of Ferris is at the center of the positive enrollment trends.
“Our record-setting growth is a reflection of a lot of hard work by our faculty, staff and most importantly our students,” Erickson said. “While we offer great curriculums, taught by outstanding faculty and supported by dedicated staff, in the end, it is the continued passion of our students that drive the record enrollments at Ferris.”
Dan Burcham, vice president for Student Affairs, saluted the collaborative effort that has aided the enrollment increases. He also noted the continued growth in online education at Ferris.
“These numbers are indicative of the strong commitment that the university has to academic success for its students,” Burcham said. “One of the areas that we continue to see growth in is with our online education. As the numbers indicate, online learning is becoming more and more of a burgeoning area for us as we serve the academic needs of students who want a high-quality education whether it’s in Big Rapids, throughout the state or online.”
Ferris reported an increase of 1,657 in student credit hours for a total of 155,866. The Big Rapids campus represented two-thirds of that increase (989) while online education represented the other third (647). The largest credit hour increases occurred in the colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Services. Arts and Sciences increased by 1,403 while Education and Human Services increased by 625. University College experienced an increase of 57 students while Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris increased by 10 students. From the university’s off-campus sites, growth was strongest in Southeast Michigan, including at Delta Community College, and in Southwest Michigan at locations in Dowagiac and Muskegon.
The university reported a 44-percent increase in its international student population which has grown by 80 students from the Spring 2011 Semester. Additionally, Ferris’ Hispanic population was up by 39.
“These numbers are indicative of our strong focus on student recruitment and retention,” said Kristen Salomonson, dean of Enrollment Services. “Our goal is to provide a rich and meaningful educational experience for a growing number of students.”
Salomonson believes the numbers are indicative of students and their families appreciating the value of a Ferris State University education.
“These have been challenging economic times for students and their families,” she said. “We are gratified that so many are choosing Ferris to help foster their future success. Our students are drawn to the welcoming atmosphere as well as the strength of our academic offerings.”
Ferris offers more than 180 educational programs, including doctorates, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, through nine academic colleges: Allied Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Services, Michigan College of Optometry, Pharmacy, Engineering Technology, Kendall College of Art and Design, and the College of Professional and Technological Studies. Ferris also has a University College that provides students with instruction in study skills, reading, career exploration and features an Honors Program.