CMU Board of Trustees discusses enrollment, budget cuts
Enrollment is increasing, but CMU is still graduating more students than it brings in
Central Michigan University's Board of Trustees met for its formal meeting on April 20 to discuss enrollment, the university budget and academic awards.
During the public comment portion at the end of the meeting, two students gave a presentation about light pollution on campus and proposed changes to on-campus lighting. The board also gave summaries of its April 19 committee meetings.
Enrollment and budget
President Bob Davies said CMU’s enrollment has increased in various areas. During the Wednesday committee meetings, Jennifer DeHaemers, vice president of Student Recruitment and Retention, gave an update on enrollment including the following statistics:
- New student applications have increased by 22%
- Fall 2023 admissions reservations are up by 11%
- The retention rate, which is the number of freshmen who continued to their sophomore year, was about 72% from Fall 2021-22
She said signed housing contracts, orientation reservations and summer enrollment are also increasing.
During the April 19 committee meetings, Trustee Edward Plawecki said CMU is still graduating more students than it is bringing in. DeHaemers said this downslide is expected to stop within the next two years.
The board approved 2,413 graduates for upcoming commencement ceremonies.
Davies also discussed changes to CMU’s budget model. He said federal funding has allowed CMU to avoid some budget reductions, but the program is ending, meaning CMU will have to make some budget cuts.
“We have asked the university’s senior leaders to undertake the difficult task of developing scenarios for reduction in their divisions,” Davies said.
Ari Harris, executive director of University Communications, said it is too early to say what the budget reductions will look like.
"Senior leaders are reviewing their area budgets at this time and will be sharing proposed changes in May," an email response from Harris said. "The goal is to have a proposed budget draft ready to share with the board of trustees at its June meeting."
Trustee Todd Anson also said many students are also taking lighter course loads since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means less revenue for CMU.
Much of Davies’ report consisted of the numerous awards CMU students and faculty received. While some students could not attend due to prior engagements, others were there to receive their awards in person
Among the students recognized for their awards were Belmont junior Xander Ault and Canton junior Ishani Gaidhane, who were both awarded the Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Scholarship supports sophomores and juniors who are leaders in the STEM fields. According to Davies, only five people in the state received this award.
Davies also acknowledged Dakota Keblbeck, a senior that was awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program. Keblbeck is a first-generation, non-traditional student whose studies led him to researching neutrino particles in the physics department.
Other awards for academic success were also brought up, along with the success of student athletes on the field and in the classroom.
Light pollution on campus
Nova Moore and Christian Mueller presented information about light pollution in the Mount Pleasant area and the effects that it has.
“Light pollution is defined as the presence of unwanted and inappropriate or excessive artificial lighting.” Moore said.
According to Moore, excessive light pollution makes it more difficult to study the night sky, making the use of the Brooks Astronomical Observatory a challenge in some circumstances.
Moore and Mueller spoke about a few benefits from reducing the light pollution in the area. Those include saving money on electricity, better sleep cycles for Mount Pleasant residents and creating a draw for potential students that want to study a field like astronomy or astrophysics.
As of right now, no plans have been announced by CMU to address these concerns.