Merchants push shopping local this holiday season

By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – The forecast for this holiday looks to be a steady sprinkle of revenue for Michigan retailers, as local stores work to provide customer service that Internet merchants can’t offer. The Michigan Retail Index predicts an increase in holiday sales, up 1.3 percent from last year. Although that increase isn’t ideal, it is still a moderate bump that shows “cautious optimism,” said Tom Scott of the Michigan Retailers Association. “The actual numbers may turn out even better than that,” Scott said. “That survey was taken during the government shutdown when there was a lot of uncertainty.”
One important step to ensuring a jolly season for retailers: encouraging shoppers to think twice ordering online.

Out-of-state students boost university budgets

By EDITH ZHOU
Capital News Service
LANSING –When the state cuts funding to public higher education, universities generally react by raising tuition. But a second option is to increase the number of out-of-state and international students who pay more to attend. For example, Michigan State University charges about $12,000 for undergraduate state residents, But out-of-state and international students pay $32,000 – $33,000 each year. Michigan ranks 9th in the nation in the number of international students enrolled in the state’s 15 public universities, but only 45th in out-of-state enrollment. According to Business Leaders for Michigan, based in Detroit, 9.4 percent of students in state universities come from other states.