Michigan and Michigan State thrive while regional universities scramble for students

Central and Eastern Michigan have seen enrollments drop by more than a third, and they say their biggest competitors are in state.

For Michigan public universities, state demographic trends have been a ticking time bomb: Fewer students are graduating from high school each year, and a smaller percentage of those who do are heading to college.

But the pain is not universal.

Enrollment at 12 of the state’s 15 public universities is down nearly 46,000 students, collectively, since 2012. But at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University, student enrollment has grown over that period — by 7,000 students at U-M and over 700 at MSU. It’s also up 62 students at Michigan Tech.

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