Two Universities in Michigan Now Facing Enrollment Challenges
“It’s easy to see why universities are struggling.”
The Detroit Free Press reports:
2 Michigan universities facing enrollment challenges know they have to make big changes
It was a gray, rainy, cold late-October afternoon, the kind of day best suited for a fire and a cup of coffee, or if you had to be at work, a day not to be jealous of those with a window in their office.
For about 75 people — a smattering of students, but mostly faculty and staff — sitting around a series of round tables in a large meeting room on Western Michigan University’s Kalamazoo campus, the first sentences from Edward Montgomery didn’t make the day burst into sunshine.
“We have some facts and figures for you,” said Montgomery, Western’s president. “Some of them will be depressing.”
The same tone of that presentation could have been — and likely has been — repeated at a number of Michigan’s public universities, particularly the regional universities.
It’s easy to see why universities are struggling.
Shrinking enrollment, thanks to a smaller overall pool of traditional-age college students, has led to fewer credit hours being taken, which has led to less tuition money rolling in…
One week after Western Michigan held its town hall, a crowd of Central Michigan University staff, administrators, board members and some students trooped through a light dusting of snow into an auditorium on the Mount Pleasant campus for Central President Bob Davies’ state of the university speech.
After highlighting various exciting programs and students, Davies began talking about a new strategic plan that would stretch into 2030.
He also acknowledged the reality of the situation — Central’s enrollment is down by about 20% from the fall of 2009 and its credit hours taken have fallen from 691,000 in fiscal 2011 to 557,000 in fiscal 2019.
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Clearly there is a supply and demand problem in higher education. Too many de-valued programs and too few students willing to take on all the debt and workload. Even after you factor in the foreign students and illegal alien students, it is clear that people aren’t seeing the value in these programs anymore…including potential employers.
If the employers ever decide to swing over to an apprentice / mentor system for hiring, and then bringing up through the ranks, the university system as we know it will be dead.
A / M would teach and nurture the skills needed to get the job done, and the one apprentice would not be saddled with debt to pay off mandated social justice nonsense courses. An added bonus: no – or very few – snowflakes gumming up the workplace gears.
My daughter is a 2015 Central Michigan grad. The university suffered during the years she attended as an affirmative-action president did little to slow the enrollment decline – nice guy, just way over his head. Bob Davies seems to be a step in the right direction.