Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Located in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Western Michigan University is a 4-year, public university that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Read about the pros and cons of the school, plus ranking, tuition and admission information.

Should You Attend Western Michigan University?

Western Michigan University (WMU) is located in southwest Michigan, about halfway between the major cities of Detroit and Chicago, Illinois (each of which are about two and a half hours away). In addition to the main campus in Kalamazoo, WMU offers another campus just a few miles away. Named Parkview Campus, it is the home of the university's engineering college. WMU's aviation college is located less than 10 miles away at Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport. Read the following pros and cons about the university to help you decide whether WMU might be right for you.


  • Room and board (on-campus) cost is $901 lower than the national average
  • Acceptance rate is 19.2 percentage points higher than the national average
  • Accepts Advanced Placement (AP) credit and dual credit
  • Located less than 2 miles from downtown Kalamazoo and less than 8 miles from Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport
  • Endowment has grown by 17.6% between 2010 and 2011


  • Total cost (includes all tuition, fees, and housing) is $4,836 higher than the national average for 4-year, public universities
  • Graduation rate is 16 percentage points lower than the national average
  • Student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, which is higher than the national average of 15:1
  • Student debt following graduation is $4,207 higher than the national average
  • High number of TAs teaching classes

About Western Michigan University

With an acceptance rate of 83% in 2012, which is almost 20 percentage points higher than the national average of 63.8%, WMU is not considered a highly selective school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the benefits to attending WMU include a low cost for room and board, a high number of academic programs to choose from, and access to a nearby downtown area and international airport.

A variety of degree choices await you as an undergraduate. Programs include aviation science and administration, early childhood education, engineering design technology, and exercise science. If you have Advanced Placement (AP) credit, you may be able to apply it towards your degree at WMU. Note that student-to-faculty ratio is 18:1, meaning you might not receive much personalized attention from your instructor. Many classes are also taught by graduate assistants, or TA's, who may not have the expertise in a certain field as faculty members with doctoral degrees.

Be aware that total cost, which includes all tuition and housing expenses, is higher than the national average for both in-state and out-of-state students. According to the NCES, the total cost to attend in the 2012-2013 year was $22,696, higher than the average of $17,860 for 4-year, public schools.

Of those students who began at the school in Fall 2006, only 24% graduated within four years, which is lower than the average rate of 40%. In addition, when you earn a degree from WMU, you might also pick up higher debt than average. College Board listed the average student debt after graduation at WMU as $30,867 in 2012, higher than the national average of $26,660.

Getting In & Financial Aid at Western Michigan University

To apply to WMU, you must submit an application along with a $35 fee. Documents to include with your application are your high school record and GPA, records from any college preparatory programs you might have completed, SAT or ACT scores, and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores if you are an international student from a country whose first language is not English. The application deadline is rolling, which means there is no definite date to get your application to the university. If you meet all the requirements for admission, you could gain admittance as long as there are open spots.

If you decide to apply for financial aid, this application deadline is rolling as well. WMU has a priority deadline of March 1st if you want to have your application to be among the first considered. Although you have the option of applying for loans, scholarships and grants, be aware that you might not receive all aid that you apply for, as illustrated in 2012 by the 24% of students at WMU who had all their needs completely met, according to College Board. If you do not receive as much financial aid as you hoped for, you might consider working part-time either on or off campus. Also be mindful of your finances after you graduate so you do not become one of the over 5.2% of WMU students who defaulted on their loans as of 2009.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2011) Rolling**
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2011) Rolling**
Priority date March 1**
Application Fee (2011-2012) $35*
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 83%*
All Tuition & Living Expenses (2012-2013) $22,696 in-state*
$35,976 out-of-state*
Average First-Year Financial Aid Package (2012) $15,353****
Percent of Students with Need Met (2012) 24%****
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2012) $30,867****
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 5.2%*

Student Life at Western Michigan University

Unlike some 4-year public universities, WMU does not require freshman to live on campus. If you do choose to live on campus, housing options include coed and gender specific dorms, apartments for single or married students, and sorority and fraternity housing.

The university participates in Collegiate Athletic Association sports such as basketball, soccer, golf and tennis. If you will not attend WMU on an athletic scholarship, you still have the opportunity to participate in club and recreational sports, both of which offer soccer and ultimate frisbee. You will also have the chance to pursue other interests and passions through the over 300 registered clubs and organizations.

The university's close proximity to Lake Michigan (about 40 min. drive to South Haven) allows you to pursue outdoor and water activities off campus. WMU offers a sailing team and club to take advantage of this resource. Apart from activities directly related to the university, the city of Kalamazoo has a zoo, air and space museum, art and food festivals, and a choice of clubs and restaurants.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Small city*
Student Population (Fall 2012) 19,478 undergraduate students*
5,120 graduate students*
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (Fall 2012) 50% to 50%*
% of Full Time Students (Fall 2012) 84%*
% of In-state Students (Fall 2011) 87%*
% of International Students (Fall 2011) 1%*
Retention Rate (2011-2012) 73% full-time students*
44% part-time students*
Campus Housing Available Yes*
% of Students Living on Campus 27%**
Number of Libraries Over 3***
Extracurricular Activities 350 registered clubs and organizations**
Noteworthy The campus has extensive wireless computing technology and is ranked 2nd in the country in the use if the technology ***

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **U.S. News & World Report, ***Western Michigan University, ****College Board.

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admissions, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5211 USA
  • Phone: (269) 387-2000