Detroit Mercy freshman enrollment is largest since 2009

A group of Detroit Mercy freshmen walk on the McNichols Campus.

The University welcomed 573 new freshmen this fall. Approximately 544 of this total will attend the McNichols Campus, which represents the largest McNichols class in the past 12 years.

Between 2015 and 2020, the University averaged 522 first-year students.

The fall 2021 freshman class represents a 10% increase in enrolled students compared to the average of the previous five years of classes. A significant number of these students — 34% — are also first-generation college students. The 2021 freshman class also boasts an impressive 3.6 grade point average and above average SAT and ACT scores. While the majority of the students are from Michigan, they also come from 14 other states and 17 countries.

Debbie Stieffel, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said that “over the last few years, in response to market trends, Detroit Mercy has implemented a creative enrollment plan that   provides individualized experiences such as customized campus tours, clear communications and creative virtual engagement to help students navigate the process. Those strategies, as well as new innovative programs and facility renovations, have helped spur the substantial increase in enrollment.”

Stieffel also said that in addition to the personalized attention Detroit Mercy is known for, the University “implemented a test-optional policy as part of a holistic evaluation of each student’s academic achievements over time, rather than use of a single test score during the admissions process. Students have enthusiastically embraced this policy.”

Detroit Mercy President Antoine M. Garibaldi said that this year’s high freshman enrollment “can also be attributed to several strategic initiatives the University implemented over the last seven years, such as the Detroit Mercy Catholic Education University Grant, the 2018 Assure Your Boundless Future Tuition Reset, which adjusted tuition by more than 30%, and the 2016 re-branding and intensive marketing campaign. This year, we received more than 7,000 applications, which represents an increase of 1,147 over the previous year, and indicates that students are interested in attending our nationally ranked University.”

Early analyses on student retention indicate that the first-to-second-year retention rate continues to track well above the national average. In addition, there are significantly more students living on campus than last year. Detroit Mercy’s School of Law and School of Dentistry also had robust enrollments this year and attracted high-quality students from around the world.