Millions of people from all over the world visit Maine every year. The state is attractive to young people, those who enjoy outdoor adventure as well as arts and culture.

So why would a university with a foothold in Maine’s arts and culture hub and a short drive from beaches or mountains have a hard time holding on to its student body? That is the question facing the University of Southern Maine, which is experiencing a steep enrollment decline at a time when demand for college education is booming nationwide.

Schools around the country are turning away qualified students, yet the University of Southern Maine can’t meet its enrollment goals.

It’s a complicated problem with many causes. USM is facing competition from Southern Maine Community College, which is in nearby South Portland. Maine has a rapidly aging population, with the number of graduates turned out by the state’s high school declining each year.

But the disconnect between the national and local trends suggests that USM is doing something wrong. With the attractions of Maine at its disposal and the demand for higher education high, the university should be able to fill its classes with out-of-state and foreign students, who would pay higher non-resident tuition and support valuable programs.

USM, with its three campuses and multiple graduate programs, has always struggled to have an identity. It won’t attract students who want to drink beer, paint their faces and cheer at football games.

But not every student wants that experience. The opportunity to live in a bucolic Maine town like Gorham or in one of America’s great small cities like Portland should be a draw to people from away.

USM offers a vital service, providing older, working students an opportunity to take advanced classes, improve skills and earn professional degrees. But it should not get out of the business of providing four-year degrees to traditional-age students.

Millions are already being spent to build the Maine brand as a tourist destination. The university should build on that effort and enter the competition for out-of-state students. If Maine is not producing enough young people, the university should make more of an effort to bring some in “from away.”