International student enrollment has grown substantially overall throughout the campuses of the Michigan Mid-American Conference, including Central Michigan University.
CMU, along with Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan universities, has recruited students from out-of-state and abroad in increasingly successful numbers.
“We’re bursting at the seams with international students,” said Pamela Gates, dean of the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences. “This year, CHSBS ended up with record numbers.”
According to Gates, recruitment at CMU has expanded over the last three years to address potential students in Korea, Japan, China and Europe. She said CHSBS’s English Language Institute ended up with 130 unexpected students from abroad by the beginning of the semester.
International enrollment throughout the university grew by about 200 students this year.
“Demographics were down,” Gates said. “But now we’re having to hire more ELI instructors. It’s not quite as bleak as we anticipated.”
CMU is reporting a 33 percent increase in on-campus international students, growing to 748 students from last year’s total of 562.
Western Michigan University saw 7.2 percent growth at 1,688 international students, up from last year’s total of 1,575, boasting students from 104 countries.
“We’ve seen a healthy growth in international enrollment,” said Cheryl Roland, executive director of University Relations at WMU. “We’ve been pretty aggressive in marketing, but it’s also been a lot of word of mouth.”
Eastern Michigan University saw a modest decrease in international students, dipping from 829 in 2012 to 818 in fall 2013.
CMU’s out-of-state enrollment has also continued to grow over the years. Since 2007, on-campus out-of-state students have increased at CMU by 77.7 percent, totaling 846 students in fall 2013.
WMU has also seen a 2.8 percent increase from 2,857 students last year, to 2,938 students enrolled from other states.
EMU saw its out-of-state enrollment numbers grow slightly, by nine students, from 1,559 in 2012, to 1,568 in 2013.
Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Steven Johnson said some schools are focusing recruitment outside of Michigan.
“Some schools are supplementing enrollment through large increases in out-of-state and international students,” he said. “We need to be visible on a national level.”
Johnson also pointed to CMU’s Global Campus, which saw an increase in undergraduate enrollment by 4.4 percent to a record high of 2,763 students.
The benefit, he said, is that CMU can capture a broader audience despite its mission to remain “Michigan dominant.”
“We’re serving a broader constituent of students,” Johnson said of CMU’s Global Campus. “It gives us more flexibility. It’s about how you connect with people. We want to look at markets that have awareness (of CMU) possibly on a personal level.”
Johnson said CMU is looking to recruit more from nearby states including Indiana and Wisconsin, along with Texas and other Southern states that have seen the highest growth in high school graduates.
“Any time you can be where parents can see you,” Johnson said. “That’s critical.”