Graduate enrollment up 1.1 percent; about 800 students once CMU undergrads

Graduate enrollment at Central Michigan University this fall is expected to narrowly surpass last year’s total.

From 1,902 to 1,922 students, the official figures were announced this week at a 1.1 percent increase from 2009.

“We have talked about being higher than that and therefore we are a little disappointed,” said Roger Coles, interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “But yesterday, I took the opportunity to phone eight universities in the state of Michigan and they are all down.”

Coles said he is happy the numbers have increased 5.8 percent since 2004. The college’s goal involves reaching 2,000 within the next several years.

“For this year, we still have increased but not as much as we want to,” said Robert Hassen, coordinator of graduate recruiting. “Most of the increase we think is because of the active recruiting we are doing and (what) the different departments are doing.”

Overall on-campus enrollment is 21,290 students, according to recently announced statistics from the Office of Admissions. Graduate students make up about 9 percent of total student enrollment.

Hassen said a large portion of the graduate student population comes from former undergraduate students at CMU.

“Our total number is about 800 of (graduate students) who got their bachelors degree from CMU,” he said. “I think they are comfortable with the faculty, they like them and they want to stay on and continue to work with them.”

Tawas City graduate student Benjamin St. Aubin is one such student.

“The skills and experience I received are invaluable,” St. Aubin said. “I am just extremely happy with everything that happened at Central Michigan.”

St. Aubin said he was attracted to the Masters of Science Administration program because of the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree and gain an edge in the depressed job market.

“I needed to go back to school and pursue an advanced degree to further my knowledge and skills, and enter the job force,” he said.

MSA program coordinator Denise Schafer said there are about 200 active MSA students within her program.

“I think Central Michigan University offers students a nice combination of a big-school education with a small-town community atmosphere,” she said. “And on top of that, I know our department makes special efforts to have a personal connection with each of our students.”