Estimates for students living in Central Michigan University residence halls are up from the 2013-14 school year but within range of what was seen before last year’s decline.
Last year, nearly 10 percent fewer students were living in residence halls as a result of lowered on-campus undergraduate enrollment numbers. This year the Office of Student Affairs expect between 5,900 to 6,000 students to live on campus.
“Currently we’re at 5,904,” said Joan Schmidt, director of residence life. “We do anticipate that to go up a bit with new international students coming in and other late minute applicants.”
When the fall semester opened last year, this number was closer to 5,330.
Schmidt attributed the increase to three factors. A larger incoming freshman class, an increase in returning students deciding to live on campus and an increase in transfer students.
New freshmen numbered 2,963 in 2013, according to reports compiled by the Office of Institutional Research. This was the lowest crop of incoming freshmen since 1995.
In April, Central Michigan Life reported 3,500 students paid their deposit fee to secure enrollment this fall. Steve Smith, director of public relations, confirmed this number to be the university’s running estimate.
An increase of roughly 600 incoming freshmen directly explains the increase this fall. Smith said the university does not project overall enrollment numbers this early in the year.
Schmidt said approximately half of sophomores stay a second year. She estimated that the ratio of freshmen to upperclassmen in residence halls is somewhere around 2:1.
“Our preference would be to keep both first and second year students on campus,” Schmidt said.
She said the university is not concerned with the expansion of local apartment complexes luring students off campus and was amazed that they would expand while enrollment does not seem to be increasing at a high rate.
Schmidt added CMU is often in contact with these companies and they are usually given access to their enrollment numbers.
She listed several reasons students prefer on-campus living, including the flexibility of meal plans, the easy accessibility of university facilities and most importantly, the community of fellow students.
These numbers are subject to change dependent on last minute decisions of students.
“Even though there is a ton of experience looking at those numbers, it’s always a surprise when they come out in the fall,” Schmidt said.
Check back with cm-life.com for more stories on CMU’s enrollment trends.