HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Hope College is setting new enrollment records for next year with the fall semester still months away.

This comes as many other Michigan colleges and universities are expecting a major drop in enrollment.

Hope College has received a record number of deposits from incoming freshman with 1,000 received by May 1. The school’s previous record for deposits was 947, which it saw in May of 2012.

Blake Showers is about to complete his freshman year and is not surprised by the interest from prospective students.

“Every time I’ve talked to somebody about Hope all I’ve heard is good things,” Showers said. “Michigan State is like 10 minutes away from my house so that was always a thought.”

He said the campus, the academic and financial aid programs, and the draw of the city of Holland itself are factors for prospective students.   

“Holland’s a great town, so there’s not much more you could ask of a college town,” Showers said.

Many other colleges and universities are seeing a drop in enrollment. Administrators often point to a smaller population of college-aged students, students staying closer to home, the pandemic and a strong job market enticing high school graduates directly into the workforce.

Hope College saw a 1% increase in total students from the fall of 2020 to the fall of 2021, going against the decreasing trend some larger schools are experiencing.

Grand Valley State University saw enrollment drop 4% during the same time period. Western Michigan University had a 7% decrease and Central Michigan University dropped 11%.

Andrew Meyers, the senior associate director of admissions, said Hope College is pleased with its numbers.

“As of our national candidate reply date of May 1, we had about 1,000 students who had enrolled at Hope this fall,” Meyers said. “By far the largest number of students who ever committed to Hope.”

He said the college is working to make programs more affordable with scholarships and administrators have an even more ambitious long-term goal.

Hope Forward, which is a program that one day when the funds are in place, will provide a tuition free education to every incoming student,” he said.

Brett Showers, the younger brother of Blake Showers, was one of the incoming freshmen who put down a deposit for the fall semester.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Brett Showers said. “I’m excited to go to college.”

The college said the number of students arriving in the fall will likely decrease over the summer but administrators still expect a strong number for the fall semester in 2022.