Wayne State’s Midtown Detroit campus is bustling this fall as the university welcomes one of the largest incoming undergraduate classes in its 155-year history. As classes begin today, Aug. 28, the school is expected to welcome approximately 4,450 new undergraduate students — including more than 3,000 first-year students — which is a 16% increase in first-year students and a 9% increase in incoming transfer students compared to last year.
The incoming class of talented new students is not only large, it is also strikingly diverse. More than 20% of the incoming class self-identify as Black, and more than 10% identify as Hispanic, each an increase of 40% in the respective number enrolled relative to last year. University-wide, overall, the number of enrolled students who identify as Black increased more than 5% and the number of enrolled students who identify as Hispanic increased by more than 11% compared to the last academic year.
“These enrollment increases underscore the fact that when prospective students visit Wayne State, they see the opportunities available to them academically with a top-rate faculty and socially and culturally on our diverse campus in the heart of a vibrant, exciting city that provides so many career-ready experiences,” said Wayne State President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. “We are thrilled to welcome our newest Warriors, as well as those who are returning. You can feel their energy on campus and I look forward to their success.”
Equally important, about half of this fall’s incoming first-year students will attend Wayne State tuition free, thanks to a combination of financial aid programs including the Wayne State Guarantee, the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge and the Detroit Promise. About a third of incoming students are taking advantage of the Wayne State Guarantee, which is made possible in partnership with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan Achievement Scholarship.
“We have worked very hard at Wayne State to remove financial hurdles and provide multiple pathways for students to earn a bachelor’s degree because we know that access to education is the greatest path to launching a career and changing the trajectory of a family’s life,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Mark Kornbluh. “Nationwide, America’s top-tier universities are increasingly out of reach financially for most families. Wayne State bucks that trend. Our incoming class demonstrates that we are truly a university of opportunity.”
Wayne State has been ranked as one of the top universities in the country at providing the strongest return on investment, one that promotes social and economic prosperity for students with the most financial need. This week, Third Way, a nonprofit public policy think tank, ranked Wayne State as a Tier 1 institution in its annual 2023 Economic Mobility Index (EMI). Wayne State is the only Michigan institution with a Carnegie R1 classification — which denotes the highest level of research activity and scholarly impact — to make the list.
With enrollment up, more students will also be calling Wayne State home. More than 2,800 Warriors will live on campus this fall, a nearly 14% increase over last year. Approximately 1,000 first-year students will live on campus, about one-third of the class, a return to pre-pandemic numbers.
Ahmad Ezzeddine, vice president for academic student affairs and global engagement, oversees enrollment management. He also recognizes the impact of the university’s new flat-rate tuition and outreach efforts on the enrollment increase.
“Our strong numbers are the result of a true team effort,” said Ezzeddine. “We work very hard all year to provide prospective students with information and support. Whether it’s visiting area high schools, providing campus tours, or answering questions about admissions and financial aid, we are there for them. Once they enroll as Warriors, our support continues with advising, tutoring, community building and a vast array of support services.”