CMU releases Fall 2021 enrollment numbers halfway through the semester

An aerial view of CMU’s Park Library, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

On Tuesday, President Bob Davies sent an email to the campus community releasing the enrollment information for fall 2021.

Not included in the email was the total number of students enrolled for the fall semester.

Central Michigan Life reached out to University Communications multiple times throughout the semester for the Fall 2021 enrollment numbers and was told the numbers were not ready to be released. CM Life reached out again on Tuesday after Davies' email was sent out and received the numbers the same day.

According to this year's statistics, there are 11,441 undergraduate and 3,980 graduate students enrolled at CMU. Executive Director of Communications Heather Smith said this is not the final number as enrollment may change throughout the semester.

In Fall 2012 there were 27,100 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at CMU, a difference of 11,679 compared to the current enrollment.

The number of students living on campus has also declined. Currently, there are 3,666 students living in residence halls compared to 4,012 in fall 2020 when classes were online, according to University Communications.

The numbers provided by Davies in the email were:

  • 729 new transfer students
  • 16% increase in the number of international students
  • 87% of the 2,200 new freshmen goal was reached
  • A “roughly” 2% increase in Global Campus enrollment
  • 28% decrease in face-to-face programs

Davies cited competition and COVID-19 as reasons for the recent decline in enrollment. CMU has seen a trend of declining enrollment over the past 10 years.

“This is an extremely competitive market,” Davies said in the email. “And it will become more so as new organizations, such as Google, enter the field. Over the past decade, we have lost market share in Michigan to these competitors, and as a result we have seen our enrollments decline.”

Other Michigan Universities released their Fall 2021 enrollment numbers in the first few weeks of the semester. 

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University released their enrollment reports in Mid October.

In his email, Davies outlined the steps CMU is taking to make the university more attractive to prospective students. These initiatives include:

  • A new will be launched in December that is more user-friendly than the current version. 
  • The December 2020 launch of CMU’s new brand “We Do.”
  • Increasing outreach to other areas of the midwest and Michigan and reaching out to younger groups like high school freshmen.
  • Investing in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Expanding online and flexible learning opportunities for non-traditional students like working adults.

Davies encouraged students to send suggestions for improvement to

“Enrollment recovery is possible, and we are setting CMU on a path to success. I appreciate your engagement and encouragement, and I look forward to continuing this journey with you,” Davies said in the email.

In response to Davies' email, Faculty Association President Amanda Garrison said 'We Do' is not increasing enrollment.

"We don’t wallow in 'We Do.' That’s not energetic. You don’t want to create something that’s easy to forget, or that people are confused by or that people can easily make fun of.”