Summer Enrollment Shows Decline

Ferris Provost Fritz Erickson seeks input from students at SG meeting

by Published: Sep 25, 2013

The major decline in sum­mer enroll­ment at Ferris was dis­cussed at the stu­dent gov­ern­ment meet­ing to dis­cover the rea­sons behind the drop.

Fritz Erickson, Ferris provost and vice pres­i­dent of aca­d­e­mic affairs, works closely with the deans of each col­lege in devis­ing Ferris’ aca­d­e­mic pro­grams. He led a dis­cus­sion with stu­dent gov­ern­ment mem­bers regard­ing the decline in sum­mer enroll­ment at the Sept. 17 meeting.

“We dropped last sum­mer by 441 stu­dents from the year before, and we really don’t know why,” Erickson said. “We have some sus­pi­cions, such as the change in the Federal Pell Grant and how finan­cial aid works.”

Student enroll­ment has been decreas­ing for the past two years. In 2011, 6,245 stu­dents were enrolled in sum­mer classes at Ferris. That num­ber dropped to 5,590 stu­dents in 2013.

Out of 25 stu­dents in atten­dance, only a hand­ful had taken classes this sum­mer. Students said they took sum­mer classes to grad­u­ate early or to free up their sched­ule so they could focus on major courses dur­ing the fall and spring semes­ters. Several stu­dents had manda­tory sum­mer classes for their majors.

Ferris sopho­more busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion major Stephanie Mellinger did not take sum­mer classes but said she plans to do so later in her col­lege career.

“The biggest prob­lem is that a lot of classes stu­dents need aren’t offered in the sum­mer,” Mellinger said.

During the meet­ing, stu­dents voiced their con­cerns regard­ing sum­mer courses. A prob­lem stu­dents found with the sum­mer courses offered at Ferris was the lack of major courses available.

Students dis­cussed the cost dif­fer­ence between sum­mer courses at Ferris and at a com­mu­nity col­lege. Many stu­dents agreed if a course is offered at a lower price at a com­mu­nity col­lege, they would take that over a Ferris sum­mer course.

Some stu­dents chose to leave for the sum­mer because of costs related to hous­ing, cit­ing that it is expen­sive to live on or off cam­pus dur­ing the sum­mer in Big Rapids.

“I would rather take sum­mer classes at home because of how expen­sive they are here and then I’d have free liv­ing at home,” Ferris sopho­more psy­chol­ogy major Chelsey Trumble said.

Several stu­dents agreed low­er­ing the cost of liv­ing would be a great incen­tive for stu­dents to stay for the summer.

“On the finan­cial aid side, we are con­stantly explor­ing ways to assist stu­dents with grants and loans to help with sum­mer tuition,” said Kristen Salomonson, Ferris dean of enroll­ment services.

Students sug­gested that a sur­vey should be given out to stu­dents in their classes to answer a few ques­tions about sum­mer courses at Ferris.