Data and Information: Diversity at MSU

Who We Are

Michigan State University is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, scientists and leaders. 

MSU students talking

Our Students 

Spartan students come from all 50 states and more than 138 countries. They conduct research, study abroad, participate in hundreds of student organizations, and take advantage of the more than 200 academic programs MSU offers.

Fall 2016 Enrollment 

Undergraduate Enrollment

In fall 2016, 39,090 undergraduate students were enrolled at MSU. The number included 7,578 students of color. The number of male and female students was nearly equal. 

Total undergraduate enrollment: 50.6% female, 22.3% minority

Undergraduate Enrollment Fall 2016
Fall 2016 # %
Black/African American 2,724 8.0
Asian 1,946 5.7
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 36 0.1
Hispanic/Latino 1,629 4.8
American Indian/Alaska Native 88 0.3
Two or More Races 1,155 3.4
White 26,169 76.8
Other/No Response 330 1.0
U.S. TOTAL 34,077 100
International 5,013
Men 19,312 49.4
Women 19,778 50.6


Freshman Class

The 2016 incoming freshman class included 7,950 students.

Freshman Class: 24.7% minority students; 13.6% international students; 9.7% first-generation college students; 18.5% Pell grant recipients

Incoming Freshmen Fall 2016
Fall 2016 # %
Black/African American 619 9.0
Asian 451 6.6
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 7 0.1
Hispanic/Latino 341 5.0
American Indian/Alaska Native 16 0.2
Two or More Races 266 3.9
White 5,130 74.7
Other/No Response 40 0.6
U.S. TOTAL 6,870 100
International 1,080 13.6


Our Workforce 

Our Spartan workforce reflects the world we live in: a constellation of genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, ages, and ethnicities. 

Tenure-System Faculty

During the 2015-16 academic year, there were 1,988 faculty in the tenure system. The number of women and minorities faculty increased slightly over the previous year. Over the last 10 years, the number of minorities in the tenure system has increased year over year. 

Tenure system faculty: 35.7% female, 25.7% minority

Support Staff

Support staff includes managers, technical professionals, clerical workers, and service and maintenance personnel. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, the support staff workforce increased to 6,852 employees.

Support Staff: 61.2% female; 15.6% minority

Our Community 

No. 1 for social mobility

Bridge Magazine’s Social Mobility Index for Low-income Students ranks MSU No. 1 among Michigan colleges based on graduation rates, net cost for low-income students, average salary after 10 years, and the gap with more privileged peers. 

MSU Neighborhoods

MSU’s Neighborhoods Initiative brings critical resources and support to first-year students where they live. At the heart of each neighborhood is an engagement center where students can study, socialize, and access a range of support services—tutors, study groups, a health clinic, and career services—all under one roof. 

Gold-status veteran-friendly school

MSU has earned gold status in the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s Veteran-Friendly School program, which recognizes institutions of higher learning that support student veterans and their dependents. Its Disabled Veterans Assistance Program covers all education-related costs for disabled vets, including tuition, fees, room and board, books, and incidentals. 

Project Venture

Sponsored by the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, the project invites high school students with disabilities to “try on” university life through an interactive two-day experience at MSU. 

MSU Tower Guard

For more than 80 years, the Tower Guard student organization has exemplified a legacy of Spartan tradition, leadership, and commitment to serving persons with disabilities. Tower Guard members serve students and faculty with disabilities by dedicating a total of 120 hours of reading textbooks and exams through the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. 

Advancing Diversity

MSU’s Advancing Diversity through the Alignment of Policies and Practices initiative—funded by a $3.98 million Institutional Transformation grant from the National Science Foundation—provided support for MSU colleges in a sweeping effort to align the university’s values of diversity and quality with academic human resource policies and practices. 

Campus Safety

As part of its continued efforts to improve police and community relations, the MSU Police Department has formed an Inclusion and Anti-Bias Unit, committed to proactively addressing police and community-related issues associated with bias. 

East Lansing Welcomes the World

The MSU Office for International Students and Scholars, City of East Lansing, and the Community Volunteers for International Programs hosts East Lansing Welcomes the World each fall to welcome international students to the community. 

LGBTQ student support 

Each fall semester, the LBGT Resource Center offers a weekly program for first-year LGBTQ+ college students in an effort to enhance their experience through community building, interactive learning, and goal-setting strategies