State Universities Dealing With Declining Enrollment
Outside of the big two, Michigan and Michigan State, state schools are seeing a rapid decline in enrollment.
Western, Central, Eastern and Grand Valley Among Schools Losing Students
State universities, were, for people like me, an opportunity to get a college education at a very affordable price, but as rising costs make it tougher for some state residents to even afford smaller schools, the schools themselves have begun to suffer.
Schools like Grand Valley in nearby Allendale, Western, Central and Eastern, have long been a collegiate option for the middle class, and now that idea seems to be quickly evaporating.
A report in Sunday's Detroit News shows that state supported colleges and universities have been going through a period of rapid drops in enrollment. The biggest drop has been in schools that flourished through the early 2000s like Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, which has lost over 40 percent of its student body since 2010.
Eastern and Lake Superior State have seen drops of over 30%. Ferris has dropped off over 25%, and even Grand Valley, which saw an uptick in the mid-2010s has fallen off by almost 10%.
Central Michigan University Has Suffered The Most
The situation has gotten so bad at Central that they announced recently that would be closing four residential dormitories on the north end of campus in the up coming 2022-23 school year.
In 2010, CMU was the fourth largest state funded university with just over 27,000 students. It is now seventh with just over 15,000. Which puts it back at mid-1970s enrollment levels.
When the President of CMU, Bob Davies had his contract renewed with a big raise recently, some students openly wondered about the school's future.
Many alumni and students feel the University has been complacent in attracting new students.
Maddie Thomas, a recent CMU graduate told the Detroit News that cuts to her area of study, Political Science, were so severe she wrote a letter to the school to express her concerns.
"I love CMU. My whole family has gone to CMU. ... But I am really scared the community is going to be a shell of what it once was because there doesn’t seem to be any reinvestment in the programs that are actually teaching students."
So What Is Causing The Decline?
Demographic issues like adults leaving Michigan for opportunities elsewhere is clearly the biggest issue. Also Michigan and Michigan State, the tWO largest and most sought after schools have increased in-state admissions meaning more residents are being accepted, which is woeful to the smaller schools.
"So kids who used to not be able to get into UM and Michigan State now can and when they do, they go," Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future, a nonprofit, told The News. "Those are kids who in the past may have gone to Western or Eastern or Central."
As a CMU graduate, I was glad the school existed. Unable to get into Michigan or Michigan State, it enabled me to get a decent college education at a very low cost. But it seems those days are gone.
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