This report provides data on Calvin's fall enrollment. Five and ten year enrollment trends are provided, along with student demographics, student majors, details on the new class of entering first-time students, and counts of faculty and academic department course activity.

2017 report summary

Overall Enrollment Trends

The total number of students enrolled at Calvin for the fall of 2017 is 3,840, a decrease of 78 students from last fall and down 150 from the year before. The Traditional Undergraduate Full Time Equivalent (FTE) enrollment stands at 3,559, down 82 from last year. (Traditional undergraduates are students working on their first bachelor’s degree and are not enrolled in a degree program at another institution. Calvin Prison Initiative students are also excluded.) Ninety-three percent of Calvin’s total enrollment is enrolled full time, while the number of part-time students stands at seven percent, stable compared with last year, but up from 2-3 years ago. The addition of our Prison Initiative students has contributed to the increase in the overall part-time numbers. Table 1 also shows that the male/female ratio of Calvin students tilts slightly more toward female students, but comes in this year somewhat more balanced than in recent years, at 54.3% female and 45.7% male. Again, the addition of our all-male prison student population has contributed to a slightly higher male percentage over the past few years. Calvin’s gender composition is somewhat more balanced than at four-year private (not-for-profit) institutions nationwide, where the undergraduate female percentage is generally around 58 percent.

The number of AHANA, or U.S. ethnic/racial minority, students at Calvin grew substantially, from 575 in 2016 to 621 this year. AHANA students now represent 16.2% of our student body, more than double the 268 AHANA students (6.4%) enrolled in 2008.

Slightly more than one-half of our students are from Michigan (53.2%), with another 16% coming from neighboring Great Lakes states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The number of International students has also risen substantially, increasing from 414 in 2016 to 445 in 2017, now representing nearly 12% of the student body.

The percentage of students from the Christian Reformed Church decreased from 32.4% in 2016 to 30.6% this year, continuing a trend where we have been declining roughly two percentage points per year. The percentage of students with at least one parent being a Calvin alum, at 33%, is also down slightly compared with last year’s 34%.

View data table 1

Student Majors

The top three programs of study this fall, as measured by overall student enrollment in specific undergraduate majors or programs are Engineering (10.6%), Business (8.1%), and Nursing (6.7%). Other top choices include Biology (4.8%), Psychology (4.3%), Elementary Education (4.3%), Secondary Education (4.2%), Kinesiology (3.5%), and Speech Pathology (3.2%). Roughly 11.5% of students are pursuing a Pre-Health track (e.g. Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Physical Therapy, etc.).

The departments with the largest number of students in majors/programs are Business (12.4%), Engineering (10.6%), Education (9.7%), Nursing (6.7%), Communication Arts and Sciences (5.0%), Biology (4.9%), Kinesiology (4.7%), Psychology (4.3%), Chemistry and Biochemistry (4.0%), and Computer Science (4.0%). Some of the smaller or mid-size majors showing notable increases over the past 2–3 years are Chemistry, Digital Communication Group, Environmental Science, Film and Media, Graphic Design, and Political Science.

View data table 3

Merit Scholarships

The overall percentage of our incoming FTIAC class (First Time In Any College) awarded one of our merit scholarships comes in at 95%, somewhat higher than last year’s 90%. The number of National Merit scholars in the class is seven, down from thirteen last year, and sixteen the year before. Of the 3,592 traditional degree-seeking undergraduates enrolled, 2,792 (78%) are receiving one of our merit scholarships. National Merit Scholars, at 44 overall, represent 1.2% of our degree-seeking undergraduates.

View data table 4


Both students’ place of residence and their citizenship provide insight into the regional distribution, diversity and international flavor of our student body. For detailed counts of students by residence see Table 5, which shows that Calvin students come from 45 different states, 5 Canadian provinces and 65 other foreign countries. After Michigan (53.2% of all students), the top five states/provinces represented are Illinois (8.7%), California (3.7%), Indiana (3.3%), Ohio (2.2%), and Wisconsin (1.7%). South Korea is the country outside of North America sending us the most students (76), with Ghana next at 57 students, China with 39, India with 27, and Thailand with 22.

The 37 Canadian citizens reported in Table 6 represent 1% of our student body, a percentage that has decreased from 2% (81 students) just four years ago. The top five non-North American countries represented by our International students based on their citizenship are South Korea (169 students), Ghana (56 students), China (39 students), India (27 students), Nigeria (18 students), Honduras (12 students), Indonesia and Ethiopia (9 students each). The international flavor of Calvin’s student body also benefits from the presence of 97 North American students who come to Calvin with experience living abroad, as well as 80 U.S. students with dual citizenship.

The distributions of U.S. students by race/ethnicity are also shown in Table 6. The number of AHANA students (Ethnic and Racial minorities) at the college is 621, up 46 over last year, and up in percentage from 14.7% to 16.2%. Some of these overall increases are fueled by growth in Calvin’s Prison Initiative. However, Traditional Undergraduate AHANA are also showing increases, from 14.5% in 2016 to 15.6% in 2017. The largest consistent increase among AHANA subgroups over the past few years are among Hispanics, jumping from 137 in 2013 to 203 in 2017.

Religious affiliations of students (Table 7) show Christian Reformed students comprising 30.6% of the student body, down about two percentage points from 32.4% last year. The second largest group of students affiliates with a nondenominational church (16.0%). Other denominational families frequently represented are Reformed and Presbyterian, each accounting for between six and eight percent of the student body, while Baptists and Other represent another six percent each.

View data tables 5-7

Retention and Graduation Rates

This year’s FTIAC retention rate of 86.7% is two percentage points higher than the rate posted last year, reversing a two-year decline in first to second year retention. The highest retention rates (based on four-year averages) can be found among the following subgroups: alumni children (92.7%), students who are Christian Reformed (91.0%), International students (89.4%), students from Christian High Schools (89.3%), and Top Scholarship recipients (89.2%). AHANA retention, at 83.5%, is up nicely from last year and Access program participant retention came in at 76.0%, up substantially for a second year in a row.

The six-year graduation rate of the 2011 FTIAC class, at 72.1%, is down substantially compared with last year’s reported rate of 75.9%, although last year was somewhat of an outlier when compared to the most recent five years of graduation rates. Higher graduation rates among the 2011 cohort (using four-year averages) are found among Top Scholarship recipients (81.6%), Alumni children (81.3%), Christian Reformed students (78.9%) Christian High School students (77.4%), and Females (77.0%). Male student graduation rates consistently lag behind those of their female counterparts by roughly seven percentage points. Graduation rates for AHANA students this year, at 60.5%, came in slightly higher than last year’s 56.9%, while Access program participants also improved this year, from 38% to 47%.

View data table 8

New Students: FTIAC and Transfer

The incoming class of 2017 FTIACs numbers 889, a decrease of 20 students (-2%) from last year’s class of 909. Incoming transfers number 76, up one from last years’ 75 transfers. The number of enrolled FTIACs that are Christian Reformed (242) is down compared with last year (265), representing 27% of the class. The number of the class having one or more parents that are alumni has also declined, from 293 in 2016 to 273 in 2017. In terms of where the new class of FTIACs comes from geographically, a slightly larger percentage is from Michigan (51.2% in 2017 vs. 49.8% in 2016). Also, a slightly larger percentage of the class comes from nearby Great Lakes States (18.3% this year vs. 17.5% in 2016).

In terms of the types of High Schools FTIACs attended, the overarching trend over the past ten years has been one of increasing numbers from public high schools and fewer from Christian high schools. In 2017 that trend continued after a small hiatus in 2016. We saw 48 fewer FTIACS enrolling from Christian High Schools in 2017. The numbers from our Key West Michigan Christian are down slightly (from 218 to 203) after a rebound year in 2016.

The number of International students in the FTIAC class grew nicely from 113 last year to 126 this year. AHANA students, at 145 in this years’ class, represent 16.3% of the class compared with 133 students (14.6%) in 2016 and 168 students (17.8%) in 2015. The number of Access Program students in the FTIAC class is up somewhat at 87 this year compared to 75 the prior year.

Admitted to Enrolled Yields

Our yield of FTIACs this year (percentage of admitted students that enrolled) increased from 30.6% last year to 33.1% this year, nearly matching the yield of the 2015 class. The highest enrollment yields among FTIACs this year are among Key West Michigan Christian High School students (59%), Christian Reformed Church members (56%), and Alumni children (56%). Yields of AHANA students increased notably this year after a particularly low yield in 2016, while our female yield (31%) bounced back nicely after a relatively low yield last year (27%). International student yields dropped noticeably (from 40% to 33%), potentially reflecting the more unwelcome political climate relative to non-U.S. students.

View data table 9-10

FTIAC GPAs and Test Scores

The academic strength of this fall’s entering first-year class, in terms of HS GPA and test scores, has remained consistent with recent classes. Mean GPA came in slightly higher at 3.77 compared with last years' 3.71, while the mean ACT score remained the same, at 26.4. Mean combined SAT score decreased somewhat, from 1,175 to 1,142 (when converting the New SAT score to the Old SAT). The 25th and 50th percentiles of HS GPAs are up slightly compared with last year, while the 75th percentile is about even. The ACT Composite 75th percentile is up from 29 to 30, while the 25th and 75th percentiles of SAT scores widened slightly--lower at the 25th percentile and but about even at the 75th percentile. The percentage of enrolled FTIACs graduating in the top 10% of their high school class, at 28%, edged down from 30% last year.

View data tables 11-12

Faculty Characteristics and Departmental Activity

The number of full-time teaching faculty at Calvin this fall is 246, down 6 from last fall. An additional 104 part-time faculty brings the total faculty number to 350. The percentage of faculty that are full-time stands at 70.3% compared to over 80% as recently as 2011.

The number of full-time male faculty increased by one from last year while the number of full-time female faculty dropped by seven, resulting in a two point increase from last year in the percent male, at 65.9%.

The number of AHANA (ethnic minority) full-time faculty, at 24, dropped by one from last year. They represent 9.8% of the total number of full-time faculty—roughly the same percentage as last year (9.9%).

The percentage of full-time faculty with a terminal degree remains similar to last year at 89.8%, which is a high point compared with the prior nine years. The college-wide number of students per faculty member (based on teaching duties) continues to inch slightly up, to 15.8 to 1 in Fall 2017 compared with 15.4 to 1 last fall.

View data tables 13-16