GV responds to record enrollment

GVL/ Rane Martin
Freshman students pay close attention during the Marshall and Dorian presentation as a part of Transitions.

Rane Martin

GVL/ Rane Martin Freshman students pay close attention during the Marshall and Dorian presentation as a part of Transitions.

Anya Zentmeyer

After receiving a record number of almost 24,000 applications for admission, Grand Valley State University has reached record enrollment for the 29th consecutive year with a total of 24,662 students, a 0.4 percent increase from last years’ total of 24,541.

Enrollment for first time attending any college freshmen was the second largest in university history with 3,927 students.

President Thomas J. Haas said these numbers fall in line with the university’s plan for strategic growth of 1 percent each year, which he said has been consistently met during the past five years.

With a steadily growing student body, Haas said the university has kept conscious of the subsequently growing need for all types of accommodation. The expansion of facilities, classroom spaces and recreational fields, as well as the provisions of additional faculty and staff, have all been in an effort to ensure the university stays well balanced.

“I think we have a very, very good planning horizon so that we can continue a very, very stable Grand Valley State University, regarding enrollment as well as financial means to achieve our mission,” Haas said.

He added that in the past few years, GVSU has moved further and further along to a residential campus from the commuter campus the university used to be.

Of this year’s FTIAC freshmen, 3,291 reside on campus, making a total of over 5,800 students living on campus for fall 2011, said Andy Beachnau, director of Housing at GVSU.

“This is an increase in all types of residential students – freshmen, transfers and returning students,” Beachnau said.

He said more students are opting to return to on-campus housing as well as more transfers requesting to live on campus. In the short term, Beachnau said the university should be able to meet the growing demand because housing always has the option to add more beds to some of the single bedrooms to accommodate more students.

In the long term, Beachnau said the university still has to assess the demand for student housing both on- and off-campus as part of the campus master planning process.

The university also saw a 1.2 percent increase in transfer students, with 1,865 admitted transfers this fall versus 1,667 last fall.

This follows a recent transfer student pact with Grand Rapids Community College signed by GVSU as well as Ferris State and Western Michigan Universities.

The agreement, signed in early June, was intended to act as a steppingstone for students who transfer out of GRCC with an associate degree, allowing those students to more successfully transfer over credits to the three institutions that signed the pact.

However, Jodi Chycinski, director of admissions at GVSU, said it is too early to tell whether or not the reverse transfer agreement was a factor in the increase of transfer students coming to GVSU.

“The university has worked very hard in recent years to improve our relationships with community colleges,” Chycinski said. “We value students ransferring to GVSU. We are very pleased with the number of transfer students that made the decision to enroll at GVSU this fall.”

She said though registering transfer students for courses closer to the beginning of the term can be more challenging than it is in late spring, academic advisers and faculty have been working with those students to build class schedules that meet degree requirements. Haas, who said the start of this academic year has been one of the best he has ever seen, is ertain the positive energy will fuel a successful school year for the increasingly opulent student body.

“The positive energy as we welcomed back students and welcomed new students to our campus was just infectious with optimism,” he said. “I am so proud of what we are doing.”
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