Some Michigan universities see higher enrollment rates, despite statewide decline

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Capital News Service 

LANSING – An estimated 417,000 students have enrolled in colleges and universities for the 2023-24 academic year across the state, with Michigan Technological University, Michigan State University and some others seeing record-high enrollment rates. 

Despite these records, schools as a whole have been struggling with a decline in enrollment, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities and colleges across the United States have suffered enrollment drops. Michigan public campuses are no exception, with a 2.2% drop in enrollment for the spring 2023 semester. 

The research center reported statewide data only, but many Michigan have announced fall enrollment increases.

Michigan State reported having more than 51,000 students this fall, with 40,400 of them undergraduates. That is its largest undergrad enrollment on record. 

Similarly, Michigan Tech reported an incoming class of 7,320, 1,463 of whom are first-year students. That marks its highest enrollment since 1983.

Grand Valley State, Northern Michigan, Ferris State and Oakland universities, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the University of Michigan-Flint also recorded peak enrollment for 2023-24. 

At the same time, however, Central Michigan, Lake Superior State, Eastern Michigan, Wayne State, Saginaw Valley and Western universities reported a drop in enrollment.

Daniel Hurley, the chief executive officer of the Michigan Association of State Universities, credits the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which took effect this academic year, for much of this influx.

The scholarship “reflects a one-third to one-half discount of the published tuition price at a Michigan public university. That’s a huge discount,” Hurley said.

U-M-Dearborn reported that nearly one-third of students who attended its summer orientations said their decisions to attend were influenced by the availability of the new scholarship program.

Another factor in raising future enrollment rates is expected to come from a new guarantee of acceptance for applicants with a high school grade point average of 3.0 or higher. 

Ten state universities are in the newly announced Michigan Assured Admission Pact that takes effect for fall 2024 incoming students . 

“From an entire economic, educational, social mobility perspective, this increase in enrollment is nothing but positive for the state, and certainly for those students who are enrolled at our public universities,” Hurley said. 

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