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Western Michigan University (WMU) is a public research institution located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The school was founded in 1903 and as of 2019, served more than 21,000 students a year, of which around 17,000 students are undergraduates. As a public research university, WMU has put many funds towards advancing research in multiple academic fields, earning the school “R2: Doctoral Universities - High Research Activity” classification.

Overview of Western Michigan University (WMU)

The university is supported by an endowment of $396.9 million, which helps support the daily running of the school’s multiple campuses. In particular, Western Michigan University spans more than 1200 acres, owns around 150 academic buildings, and consists of the West Campus (also known as Main Campus), East Campus, Oakland Drive Campus, Parkview Campus, and College of Aviation located in Battle Creek, Michigan. Western Michigan University also actively participates in intercollegiate sports, competing in the NCAA Division I conference and the Mid-American Conference for most sports.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 16:1
Graduation Rate 57%
Year Founded 1903

Student Enrollment

Total Students21,470


Undergraduate Student

Male 8,696
Female 8,355

Graduate Student

Male 2,254
Female 2,165

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WMU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 8,100
Female 9,598


Male 6,399
Female 7,678

Acceptance Rate80%

Male 79%
Female 80%

Enrollment 2,973

Male 1,493
Female 1,480
Application Fee $40
High School GPA Required
High School Rank -
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Recommended
Recommendations -
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline Rolling
Common Application Accepted No

WMU Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

As a state public school, there is a slight difference in the cost of attendance for students depending on residency status. The difference in cost is not substantial, though, with out-of-state students only paying $3,000 more in tuition a year compared to in-state students. Overall, for the 2018-2019 school year, the cost of attendance for in-state students living on campus was around $26,000, while the total cost of attendance for out-of-state students living on campus was $28,900. Out of all students enrolled at Western Michigan University, 82% received some sort of financial aid that helped reduce the actual cost of attendance. On average, students received $8,825 in scholarships or grant money that didn’t need to be paid back upon graduation or termination of the degree, and students averaged around $8,700 in student loans per year. This translated into an actual net price of attendance of $17,028 for the 2018-2019 school year. For families earning $0-30,000 a year, the net price of attendance was $13,021, while for families earning more than $110,000 a year, the net price of attendance was $24,219, indicating that ability to pay is a large determinant in the financial aid acquired and the actual cost of attendance.

Average net price 2018-2019
Net Price $17,028
Average Total Aid $8,825
Students Receiving Financial Aid 82%
Room & Board $10,567

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $13,017
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $16,041
  • Books and Supplies - $987
  • Room & Board - $10,567
  • Other - $2,500


Western Michigan University is a selective school, with an admissions rate of 80% of applicants. Interested students must submit standardized test scores for the SAT or ACT, which requires planning on the student’s part to ensure that they can complete their examinations in time for the admissions cycle. Despite the university’s large size, it boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1, allowing most students to attend several small or medium-sized classes. This low ratio allows for close classroom bonding and is exceptionally important in a school as large as Western Michigan University, where the large student population can feel overwhelming otherwise. Overall, WMU has quite a high student retention rate at 78%. This means that the vast majority of first-year students enjoy their college experience and decide to return to campus in their second year, suggesting that the social and academic atmosphere at Western Michigan University is conducive to the college experience. Even so, the overall graduation rate at Western Michigan University is on the lower side, with only around 57% of students graduating overall.

Student Population Total

Student Population 21,470

Evening Classes : No
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 794 Total Graduates / 22%
Accounting 119 Graduates
Finance, General 117 Graduates
Marketing, Other 114 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 101 Graduates
Health Professions and Related Programs 398 Total Graduates / 11%
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 129 Graduates
Health and Medical Administrative Services, Other 126 Graduates
Occupational Therapy/Therapist 48 Graduates
Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist 29 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 316 Total Graduates / 9%
Mechanical Engineering 78 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 65 Graduates
Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering, General 48 Graduates
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 41 Graduates
Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 239 Total Graduates / 7%
Multi-/Interdisciplinary Studies, Other 221 Graduates
International/Globalization Studies 14 Graduates
Data Science, General 4 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 204 Total Graduates / 6%
Film/Video and Photographic Arts, Other 31 Graduates
Fine/Studio Arts, General 21 Graduates
Graphic Design 17 Graduates
Musical Theatre 16 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 45%

Outcome & Salary

Given that Western Michigan University is a public state school, only bachelor’s degrees and above are offered. Among full-time, first-time degree-seeking students, the average graduation rate was 54%. For part-time, first-time degree-seeking students, the results were worse, with 20% receiving their bachelor’s degree. Among non-first-time degree-seeking students, however, results were better across the board, with full-time students graduating 67% of the time and part-time students graduating 51% of the time. Of the different degree programs offered at Western Michigan University, the most popular subject area is business, with nearly 800 out of a class of around 3500 graduating students have selected a major in the field. Other popular degree areas at the university are health professions and engineering, each with around 300 graduating students majoring in the subject.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $51,900
College Grads Average Salary $66,158
College Grads Mid Career Salary $93,000
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $661,580
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,591,580
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $68,112
10 Year Projected ROI $593,468
20 Year Projected ROI $1,523,468
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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