UM-Dearborn welcomes strong freshman class

October 5, 2020

Even with our promising new Wolverines, enrollment is slightly down due to pandemic challenges.

 Students on campus in Fall 2020
Students on campus in Fall 2020

UM-Dearborn’s incoming Fall 2020 freshman class has a stronger GPA than classes in previous years. The 2020 numbers are in and first-time freshmen — with a class average of a 3.71 GPA — totaled 1,003, up more than 10% than a decade ago (911 in fall 2010).

Enrollment Management Vice Provost Melissa Stone says she’s impressed with the caliber of the newest Dearborn Wolverines. But she stresses that UM-Dearborn strives to be accessible for all who are serious about earning their degree — something which can go beyond high marks.

“The people on this campus know how access to education can change the trajectory of a student’s life,” says Stone, noting that more than 40% of UM-Dearborn students are the first in their families to attend college. “We are committed to increasing the number of students in southeast Michigan who have that access.” For example, UM-Dearborn is SAT-testing optional for Fall 2021. “We are committed to removing unnecessary barriers.” 

Looking at overall numbers for Fall 2020, Stone says campus enrollment is slightly down, but an enrollment decrease was expected and planned for due to the pandemic challenges.

Total Fall 2020 UM-Dearborn enrollment is 8,783 students (6725 undergraduates, 2058 graduate-level), which is a 4.5% decrease from last year. Stone says a major area of decline is within campus’ International student community, many of whom had COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“The campus enrollment update may not reflect the traditional enrollment growth celebrated, but this year provided unique challenges that meant our definition of  success comes with a slightly different lens,” Stone says. “We can celebrate that as a campus we were nimble and adopted new ways of working collaboratively to meet the challenges of this pandemic. We have strong students who are here to succeed. And wonderful faculty and staff who are giving their all to help these students reach their dreams.”

There are bright spots in the numbers. Among those are that a higher number of students indicating they are persons of color than in previous years (28.8%) and the continued climb of the first-year student retention rate across campus, Stone says. It’s 81.6%, which shows a more than 4% increase from two years ago (77.4%).

Looking at location, Stone says campus attracts students in the southeast Michigan region. More than 87.5% of campus’ students hail from Michigan, with strong representation from Wayne (5,289 students), Oakland (1,183 students), Macomb (396 students) and Washtenaw (346 students) counties.

Get more information on UM-Dearborn’s Fall 2020 enrollment and trends.