CMU welcomes largest freshman class in years

As our educational system faces a shortage of teachers with some deciding to put the books and chalk down, others are not.
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 7:17 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WNEM) – Central Michigan University is welcoming its largest incoming freshman class in eight years.

“Feels great! It feels really awesome,” said Jennifer Dehaemers, the university’s vice president for student recruitment and retention. “First time since 2014 that we’ve had an increase in our freshmen class.”

Since 2014, the number of freshmen at CMU had been on a steady decline, from 3,800 students in 2014 to 1,910 in 2021.

“Our freshmen class is going to be over 2,000 students this year, and while that’s not our very largest class we’ve ever had, it’s definitely larger than last year and the year before,” Dehaemers said.

The number of incoming transfer students is also up, Dehaemers said, crediting CMU’s marketing and branding campaign.

With updated software implemented in 2021 to better communicate with prospective students, Dehaemers says the recruiting staff took a different approach when reaching out to potential recruits.

“What we really wanted to do was have our recruiting staff be sure that they were building personal relationships with the students that we were recruiting, and I think that really paid off for us,” Dehaemers said.

And even though the number of new students choosing CMU is going up for now, Dehaemers said enrollment across the board may be lower.

“Our overall enrollment will still probably be down. And the reason for that is we had larger freshmen classes a few years ago, and those students are graduating out,” Dehaemers said. “And so, when you look at the total enrollment, we’ll still be down a little bit, but we’re definitely turning the trend around.”