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Ohio MAC schools experience decline in enrollment numbers

Ohio University, as well as Kent State University, the University of Toledo and the University of Akron, have experienced decreases in enrollment between fall 2018 and fall 2019.

In the last three years, OU has seen a smaller incoming class size due to a mixture of factors. The university has said this decrease is because of a smaller number of people attending colleges in the Midwest, according to a previous Post report.

Currently, OU has 32,637 students across all of its campuses and online, according to a university press release. That also includes undergraduates, medical students and graduate students. During fall 2018, all of OU’s campuses had a total of 34,443 students. 

Miami University currently has 24,598 students, according to its website. In fall 2018, Miami had 24,416 students enrolled in all of its campuses, including graduate students. That indicates an increase of 182 students in the past year.

Kent State currently has 37,411 students, which is a decrease in 912 students since the 2018 Fall Semester when enrollment was at 38,323 students, according to its website.

Toledo had a decrease of 522 students. The number of students in 2018 was 20,304, which reduced to 19,782 in 2019, according to its website.

Akron’s enrollment decreased as well, going from 20,554 in 2018 to 19,218 in 2019.

Unlike other schools in the MAC, Bowling Green State University had an increase in enrollment. Enrollment was at 19,540 students in the 2018 Fall Semester and was at 19,905 students in the 2019 Fall Semester, according to BGSU’s website.

Miami also had a “huge” increase in freshman enrollment, Claire Wagner, director of the News and Public Information Office at Miami, said.  

“Miami saw a huge increase in the first-year class, with 4,358 students enrolling for the first time, about 380 more than last year and the third year of record enrollments, following a general trend of larger incoming classes,” Wagner said in an email.

OU credits the decreased enrollments to a variety of factors, one being a decreased high school enrollment in the U.S., according to that same Post report.

“Nationally, overall, … a number of high school students who are coming out of high schools, both public and private in the U.S., that number is dropping nationally, with some significant declines forecasted still in the future,” Robin Oliver, vice president of University Communications and Marketing, said.

That, coupled with smaller incoming class size and a larger outgoing class size, accounts for the lack of incoming students.

“What we have seen in the last three years is smaller incoming classes.” Oliver said. “So we're graduating large classes. We're bringing in smaller classes. Those smaller classes and our retention rates have been good.”

Oliver said it is important to note the number of outgoing students as well as retention rates because the university is doing more than just bringing in students.

The university has also seen a higher number of students graduating early, Oliver said.

“Because of things like College Credit Plus … we're actually starting to see a three-year graduation rate that is showing up on the radar,” Oliver said. “It's still only about 3% of students, which … seems like a tiny number, but you know, that is at least making it onto the statistical sheet.”

Graduation increases because more students are coming in with credit already and therefore leaving earlier, Oliver said. Even with an increased College Credit Plus, or CCP, presence, the university has also seen a decrease in transfer students.

“OHIO transfer students enjoy a welcome, flexible transfer credit ecosystem that can decrease time to graduation and lower overall costs of a university degree,” Candace Boeninger, interim vice provost for Strategic Enrollment Management, said in an email.

The university is lacking in comparison to its competitors in scholarships for transfer students, Oliver said.

Like OU, Miami also saw a greater number of students graduating earlier because of CCP.

“Our overall undergraduate enrollment is flat, likely due to more students graduating in less than 4 years,” Wagner said in an email. “Students coming in with college credit are often able to complete degrees in three or three-and-a-half years, a goal of the state, to help students reduce college costs.” 


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