Concordia University Ann Arbor enrollment hits record high despite downward trends nationwide

Students at Concordia University Ann Arbor. (Concordia University Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – According to fall 2022 census data recently released by Concordia’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the Ann Arbor campus notched a record-breaking total enrollment, with especially strong gains at the graduate level. The total enrollment count for fall 2022 was 1,201, including 252 graduate students (up 85 from last year’s graduate-level total).

This total is the highest the campus has ever seen in its 59-year history and adds to the precipitous growth CUAA experienced following its merge with Concordia University Wisconsin in 2013. Since that time CUAA’s total enrollment has grown an impressive 60 percent.

CUAA total fall enrollment trends from 2013-2022. (Concordia University Ann Arbor)

“Our mission is of unquestionable significance,” said Vice President of Administration Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson. “A decade ago, we were worried about closing the doors on this important institution and now, more CUAA graduates than ever are going out into the world prepared to lead Godly lives of uncommon purpose and to contribute significantly within their communities. We praise God for this.”

Bucking trends

Nationally

Average enrollment at colleges and universities nationwide declined for the third year in a row, according a 2022 National Student Clearinghouse Report. This year’s dip was 1.1%– less than the 3.1% most saw from 2019 to 2020, but still contributing to a total loss of over 1 million students compared to pre-pandemic totals.

While CUAA saw a slight dip in its undergraduate enrollment this year, it notched an unlikely record-high amid the pandemic. This year’s healthy gain among graduate learners more than helped secure the campus’ record-high total enrollment.

Gender gaps

Another area of decline illuminated within the National Student Clearinghouse Report was the downward trend of male enrollment. Only 41% of students enrolled in college are men, according to the report, and that gap widened substantially amid the pandemic.

At Concordia, however, the ratio remained balanced among the undergraduate population, if slightly in favor of males. As of the fall 2022 count, 467 of CUAA’s undergraduate students were female, while 481 were male.

Statewide

The declines have been even more pronounced in Michigan. Over the past five years, the state’s independent colleges on average saw a 9% decline, with especially stark drops amid the pandemic.

The graph below contrasts CUAA’s enrollment with the averages of the rest of Michigan’s independent colleges and universities (MICU).

Growth contributors

New academic programs

Since the merge, CUAA has added more than two dozen undergraduate programs and over a dozen graduate programs, including the campus’ first doctoral programs. At the undergraduate level, new programs account for more than a third of the total undergraduate enrollment, while graduate-level new offerings account for 80 percent of the total graduate population.

New undergraduate programs

New graduate programs

New athletic programs

Athletics and other co-curricular offerings play an important role in the recruitment equation. More than 70% of CUAA’s undergraduate population participated in one or more athletic programs in 2021-22. Since 2012, CUAA has added 13 new programs and made significant improvements to several of its athletic fields.

  • 2012 – Bowling (Men’s and Women’s)
  • 2012 – Football
  • 2012 – Competitive Cheer
  • 2012 – Competitive Dance
  • 2014 – Women’s tennis
  • 2015 – Men’s tennis
  • 2016 – Lacrosse (Men’s and Women’s)
  • 2018 – Ice Hockey (Men’s)
  • 2019 – Ice Hockey (Women’s)
  • 2019 – E-Sports
  • 2021 – STUNT

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