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Can A College Grow If Students Need A Car To Get There?

By Micheline Maynard

Fire up, Chips!

Last winter, I was a Donald Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism at Central Michigan University. I loved working with my students (check out their work on our Reinventing Michigan blog), and I enjoyed life in Mount Pleasant.

What I didn’t really enjoy was my weekly commute, about 125 miles each way from Ann Arbor. If there had been Amtrak, I would have gladly taken it.

There also were limited local transportation options, meaning I had to drive everywhere once I got to school. If CMU had a bike sharing system, it would have been fun to try it out in order to get around. (I didn’t buy my bike until after classes ended.)

But short of chartering a plane, the only way to reach Mount Pleasant was to drive. It turns out that’s becoming a concern for CMU in trying to recruit students, too, according to CMLife, the student paper.

Writer Ryan Fitzmaurice says the lack of public transportation to the mid-Michigan school is hampering efforts to attract more kids  from out of state. Universities in Michigan charge roughly double the tuition to out-state students, and they’ve become a lucrative source of revenue as schools battle budget cuts.

“The biggest comment I get from parents from out-of-state students is this: We think Central Michigan is a great school and a great institution, but how am I going to get my child there without buying them a car?” Senior Associate Director of Admissions Kevin Williams told the paper. Continue reading

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Filed under Driving, public transportation