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.