CMU enrollment declines while EMU, GVSU experience increases
Central Michigan University is experiencing a decline in enrollment, while other Michigan public universities have reported increases.
CMU’s current enrollment total is at 27,693 students, a 2.2 percent drop from last year’s 28,311; but other institutions like Eastern Michigan University and Grand Valley State University have experienced increased enrollment numbers, while Michigan State University expects “record-breaking” enrollment. CMU is also down 12.4 percent in freshman enrollment.
According to each school’s respective website, enrollment is up 6 percent at EMU and 1.2 percent at GVSU. MSU’s enrollment numbers have not been released yet, but an increase is anticipated.
“You can attribute some of that (enrollment decrease) to a declining market,” Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Steven Johnson said. “There are fewer students in the state of Michigan and the number of institutions stayed the same, so you could say we are ‘fighting’ for a fewer number of students.”
Johnson said a majority of the state schools are down and all 28 Michigan community colleges experienced decreased enrollment as well.
University officials are pointing to the decline in Michigan high school graduates as a factor in the enrollment drop.
“What’s happening in Michigan is what economists have been predicting for years: less high school students,” President George Ross said following Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting. “We anticipated it, and we planned for it.”
Ross said CMU, unlike some Michigan Universities, relies heavily on in-state students.
“Michigan State isn’t as dependent on Michigan (students) as we are,” he said, adding 95 percent of CMU students are from Michigan.
CMU is looking at ways to reverse the trend of enrollment.
In a statement released in June, Johnson said CMU would be investing in high-priority programs like science and technology. He also outlined a plan for greater emphasis on out-of-state recruiting.
“Most of our students are from Michigan, and we need to look at opportunities to broaden that,” Johnson said. “We already have some exposure in Illinois, particularly the Chicago area, but we need to be looking at other areas including Texas and Georgia to see if there are students that fit the identity and brand of CMU.”
Johnson also stressed the importance of finding new areas within the state to recruit prospective students.
“A majority of our students come from a certain areas in Michigan and we don’t necessarily receive as many students as we could from other areas. I think that it’s due to a lack of exposure and self-awareness,” Johnson said. “We have not been a strong outreach for ourselves.”
Although CMU is looking for more students out of state, Johnson also said CMU is a state institution and that Michigan students would always come first.
“We are always focused on Michigan and making sure that we have an opportunity to serve students in Michigan first,” he said.
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