students walking on Allendale Campus; banner hanging from lightpost reads Next is Now

GVSU sees increase in first-year and diverse students

In the second cycle of COVID-related enrollment figures, Grand Valley State University made notable gains, despite the challenges. For first-time college students, the university saw a slight increase in the total (3,894), but more significantly, within that group, Grand Valley attracted a more diverse student body. 

Among first-year students, the number of African American/Black students is up 80.2 percent; the number of Asian students is up 27.5 percent; and the number of Hispanic/Latinx is up 31.1 percent. The number of students who are the first in their families to attend college is up 9.2 percent. GVSU also saw an increase in student veterans and military affiliate families of 5 percent and a 72 percent increase in adult learners in its degree completion program (LEADS).

headshots of President Mantella and Vice President B. Donta Truss
Pictured are (left) President Philomena V. Mantella and B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Management and Educational Outeach.
Image Credit: University Communications

“We have made a concerted effort to show students and potential students the kind of quality and personal attention they will receive when they enroll at GVSU, and that applies to traditional-age college students as well as adult learners,” said B. Donta Truss, vice president for Enrollment Development and Educational Outreach. “We all understand that students and their families have a lot to consider when they are choosing a college. I am pleased our message is resonating with students from all backgrounds and ages. We have a vibrant student body and great faculty to support them.”  

President Philomena V. Mantella said: “I am proud of our success in attracting students to GVSU in the face of unprecedented challenges, and I am heartened that our areas of focus, including increasing diversity of our student body, are the areas of great gain. The university’s Strategic Enrollment Management Plan has a laser-sharp focus on ensuring new students from minoritized backgrounds feel welcomed and are valued at Grand Valley. It appears that our efforts are moving the needle in the right direction.” 

Total enrollment fell by 4 percent largely due to a decline in returning students. “We know the pandemic has made pursuing education more difficult, so we are contacting those students to let them know they have a place at Grand Valley,” Mantella said. “We will bring renewed focus to avoid disruptions to their education during these turbulent times. We are extending our tradition of being responsive and student centered as we battle to keep our community safe, while supporting continuity of learning within the vibrant educational experience students receive at Grand Valley.” 

Graduate student enrollment increased by 2.8 percent, demonstrating strong results in recruiting and retaining students in business, health professions, engineering and computing. Newly enrolled international students grew from 21 to 107 students. This burgeoning population of GVSU students reflects the intensive efforts being made to ensure that Grand Valley becomes a leader in providing educational services to international students.

Total enrollment for Fall semester 2021 is 22,406, of which 20,136 students are from all over Michigan; 1,870 are from other states, which includes a 6 percent increase for first-time college students; and 400 international students.