MSU Applications Down in Wake of Nassar Scandal

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Michigan State University continues to realize the tangible cost of the Larry Nassar scandal, as applications to the university have decreased for the second consecutive year, even as Big Ten Conference peer institutions and other schools across the nation continue to see increases.

Nassar, the osteopathic physician employed by Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, was convicted earlier this year of sexually abusing multiple girls and women in his care and possessing child pornography. He is currently serving a minimum 100-year prison sentence.

ESPN reports that undergraduate applications to Michigan State fell 8.3 percent over the past year, a drop of roughly 3,000 applications to 33,129, and an even steeper slide than the 3.6 percent decline realized in Fall 2017 applications.

The Nassar story broke in 2016, and the headlines keep coming.

On Tuesday, the university announced that it had completed its financial transfer to a court-created settlement fund, thus fulfilling its agreement with Nassar's sexual assault survivors. According to the Lansing State Journal, the $425 million transferred is earmarked for 332 survivors. That fund will now be frozen, though prior claims will be honored.

A separate Healing Assistance Fund set up by the university will likewise be frozen. Closing the fund early, interim MSU President John Engler wrote in a memo to trustees, "permits us to use the $8.6 million remaining balance in the Healing Fund to reduce the amount of our borrowing to pay the settlement," the State Journal reported.

Also on Tuesday, Michigan lawmakers advanced more bills inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case — voting to ease the prosecution of alleged abusers, stiffen child pornography penalties and let more people speak at sentencings under certain circumstances, according to an Associated Press report.


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