Enrollment numbers decrease at 26 of 28 of Michigan's community colleges

Central Michigan University is not the only institution suffering from a decline in enrollment numbers in recent years.

According to a report released by the Michigan Community College Network, 26 of the 28 community colleges in Michigan have experienced a decline in enrollment for the fall semester since the 2010-11 academic year.

The two schools that escaped this fate are Oakland Community College and West Shore Community College, which experienced a growth in enrollment of 0.76 percent and 5.32 percent, respectively.

Jackson Community College experienced the sharpest decline in student numbers, dropping 11.21 percent in enrollment from their record number of 7,870 students enrolled in 2010.

Other schools that suffered big losses were Washtenaw Community College, down 8.86 percent in enrollment from 2010, Glen Oaks Community College, down 8.19 percent, Kirtland Community College, down 7.3 percent and North Central Community College, which declined 7.21 percent from 2010.

Mid-Michigan Community College, which has a campus in Mount Pleasant, also experienced a decrease in enrollment, down to 4,885 students in 2011 from their record-high of 5,177 in 2010, a decrease of 5.64 percent.

As reported by Central Michigan Life earlier this month, Steven Johnson, vice president for enrollment and student services, said in a news release the decline in enrollment was expected and reflected Michigan’s shrinking high school graduation classes. Johnson is leading an effort to establish an “aggressive and tactical enrollment plan” in order to bring more students to CMU.

While Michigan's shrinking high school graduation class sizes definitely play a role in the decline in overall loss in higher education enrollment, one student seemed to think other factors are also involved.

Jessica Morey, a sophomore at Olivet Nazarene University, a private university near Chicago, chose to attend college out of state due to competitive scholarship offers that ONU had to offer. The Flint native said Michigan's tuition rates played the most important role in her decision to attend school out of state.

"I was originally going to attend Saginaw Valley State University because it was close to home," Morey said. "However, tuition at ONU is $35,000 a year, but with scholarships and grants, I pay a little under $5,000 per year to attend."

Morey said she thought competitive scholarships and grants that many smaller private schools offer play a role in the decline in community college enrollment in Michigan.

CMU has especially experienced the backlash of these declining enrollment numbers, a new and equally bizarre reality from just two years ago in which residence halls usually suited for four students would be home to five.


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