GVSU surpasses WMU in enrollment

Lizzy Balboa

With a record number of freshmen and international students on campus this year, Grand Valley State University is gaining ground on the other public universities in Michigan. Now, with enrollment reports being released by the other institutions, the Allendale-based university can see more solidly where it ranks.
And it can do so with pride.

According to the GVSU Accountability Report 2011-2012, GVSU ranked sixth in the state for student enrollment last year, just 303 students behind Western Michigan University. This fall, GVSU surpassed WMU by a mere 56 students.

“Total enrollment is one indicator of how students react to any institution and at Grand Valley we are delighted that the students we admit have chosen us,” said Matt McLogan, vice president of university relations. “Grand Valley admits only really bright students, really qualified students, and we are proud that they want a Grand Valley degree.”

McLogan said GVSU has not been competing with the other institutions for higher enrollment, though.

“We have just not focused on any other institution,” he said, adding that the university leaders focus on bettering GVSU, not comparing it to other schools.

McLogan said GVSU’s current state of growth is appropriate for the mission of the university and that more extreme growth rates may not suit the school at this time. The university has and will continue to focus on a small growth rate.

“President Haas thinks the sort of natural enrollment rate for Grand Valley is around 25,000 students, which is a number that is tied to our facilities, to the number of faculty we have and to the size of our campuses,” he said.

The total enrollment for this fall is 24,654 students, which GVSU News and Information Services reports as having “hit the target for the university’s strategic plan of quality and stability.”

Although having a greater enrollment number than WMU is certainly an accomplishment and helps GVSU move up in the ranks of public universities, McLogan said other numbers may be even more important.
Retention, graduation rates, and quality and performance ratings of incoming students help keep GVSU at the top of the pack among the strongest institutions in the state, he said.

GVSU’s 2011-2012 rankings for the different categories can be found online at www.gvsu.edu/accountability/accountability-4.htm. The 2012-2013 report will be released later in the fall.

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