MSU application numbers down after Nassar scandal

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- Michigan State University's undergraduate applications are down over the past year, believed to be caused by the Larry Nassar scandal.

Applications for the fall 2018 semester dropped by about 3,000, according to an Oct. 3 MSU enrollment report.

Before the scandal shook the Spartans community, the university's enrollment had been increasing over the previous seven years, according to that enrollment report.

The Indianapolis Star broke the Nassar sexual assault story in an article in 2016, and enrollment for fall 2017 declined by 3.6 percent.

In an ESPN report, Michigan State's enrollment was down 8.3 percent from fall 2017 to fall 2018.

Other universities that showed declining enrollment in that time are Minnesota, with a .6 percent decline; Maryland, with a 1.3 percent decline; Iowa, with a 3.7 percent decline. Penn State's numbers were not available at the time of the ESPN report.

Shortly after the Penn State sexual abuse case involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in 2012, that university experienced a 10.5 percent decline in applications, according to ESPN.

Wisconsin showed the highest increase in enrollment from fall 2017 to fall 2018, with a 19.7 percent increase, according to the report.

MSU's spokeswoman, Emily Guerrant, says the declines are likely due to a lower number of high school graduating seniors, low birth rates and migration during the recession. She said there also were changes for international students because of changes in federal visa and immigration processes in that time.

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