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Michigan college enrollment numbers on a steady decline over past five years


Michigan Has the 4th Highest drop in College enrollment in the nation. That’s according to a recent report from the National Student Clearing Research Center.  The study found that in 2019, Michigan saw a decrease of roughly 17,000 student enrolling in higher education, while the Nationwide enrollment declined by 1.7%---translating to around 300,000 students.

In West Michigan, the numbers are even more eye opening, as officials from Hope College, Aquinas College, and Grand Rapids Community College admissions have all confirmed that enrollment has been at a decline over the last 5 years.

“Aquinas College has felt the impact of the enrollment trends in our region, as well as the increasing competition that has resulted from those enrollment declines,” said Marissa Sura Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

So why the decline?

According to The University of Central Michigan, shrinking enrollment, thanks to a smaller overall pool of traditional- age college students, has led to fewer credit hours, fewer credit hours means less tuition, less tuition means making cuts to recruit students. Fewer students means less tuition money.

Dave Murray, Grand Rapids Community College Communication Director, agrees.

“Technology is changing jobs so quickly,” Murray said. “We continue to see very strong enrollment in the career programs”.

In an effort to improve college admission enrollment, last November, Aquinas College launched the Aquinas Commitment, which will meet the full demonstrated financial need for direct costs for all qualified students combined with a Four-Year Guarantee and the benefits of using the Advantage Center which includes (career services, internships, study away, and research opportunities). Aquinas College is increasing on-campus events and boosting the visiting experience. Last fall, Aquinas became part of the Common App.

“We are embracing the use of technology to more effectively communicate with students and their families and to deliver more timely and relevant messages to them." Marissa Sura said in responce to the admission decline. 

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