Laker total reaches record number

GVL / Sara Carte


GVL / Sara Carte

Members of the Laker community may have noticed the increased numbers of people on Grand Valley State University’s campus this year. Despite having fewer freshmen than last year, the university has hit record enrollment numbers for the 2015-2016 school year, with a total of 25,325 students. Last year, the university enrolled 25,094 students.

“We’re off to a great start this academic year,” said President Thomas J. Haas in a news release. “Grand Valley students know they are enrolling in a university that puts their education and well-being first. We’ve done a great deal of planning to not only attract students, but to keep them and guide them to meaningful degrees. Our retention is up, and students are benefiting.”

Jodi Chycinski, GVSU director of admissions, said her office received 19,331 applications for this year, compared to 19,256 last year. Of these, 13,800 students were accepted, though only 4,155 enrolled for the fall semester.

“Last fall was a record class of 4,226,” Chycinski said. “Our goal for this fall was 4,100 new freshmen. We had 71 fewer freshmen enroll this fall compared to last fall, but we had 84 more transfer students enroll this fall over last fall.”

According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, after peaking in 2007- 08 at 123,576 graduates, the state of Michigan will see substantial decrease that began in 2009. By 2019, high school graduates will fall 20 percent to below 99,000.

“The decline is projected to continue indefinitely beyond that,” Chycinski said. “As a result we will see increased competition for students in our state.”

Philip Batty, director of institutional analysis, said that transfer students are not in the same category as freshmen. These are two separate groups in the data, which Batty said is collected from the myBanner registration system.

Freshmen are new to college and have “first time” status in any college as long as they have fewer than 25 credit hours completed, Batty said.

“FTIAC (first time in any college) is what people used to mean when they say freshmen,” Batty said. “These people are new to college, or else they may have a little experience in high school from AP classes.”

Transfer students, Batty said, are not considered freshmen for the purposes of the data collection, even if they have fewer than 25 credit hours when they enroll at GVSU.

In addition to having more transfer students, student retention from the freshman to sophomore year is up for a second straight year, contributing to the record-breaking numbers.

“Grand Valley is committed to a student from enrollment to graduation,” said David Hooker, chair of the Board of Trustees, in a news release. “Students and the state of Michigan benefit when university officers and the board work together to control costs and do everything they can to help students earn a degree. We know there is a dwindling number of freshmen available to our universities, and Grand Valley’s proof of performance is allowing for continued growth, while earning national recognition and staying affordable.”

Although admissions continue to grow, Batty and Chycinski both stated that the university has never capped enrollment and does not have plans to do so in the future.

For more information and statistics, visit To learn about the university’s performance, go to