Posted: October 23, 2002

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

An upward enrollment trend continues this fall at the 34 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, where 5.5 percent more students are taking credit-based courses than at the same time last year. This fall, the campuses report a total of 165,915 students in credit courses compared with 157,242 last fall, a gain of 8,673 students.

By another measure, full-year-equivalent enrollment in credit classes has jumped 2.9 percent. Under this annual measure, the campuses project a full-year-equivalent enrollment of 129,842 for the current academic year, compared with an actual full-year-equivalent enrollment of 126,215 in the 2001-2002 academic year.

"We now have four consecutive years of substantial growth," Chancellor James H. McCormick said in announcing the enrollment gains today. "This demonstrates that our colleges and universities have built a reputation for high-quality education at a reasonable cost."

The headcount enrollment was taken on the 30th day of class at each institution and compared to its 30th day enrollment last fall. The actual full-year-equivalent is calculated by counting the number of credits taken by all students at an institution and equating them to full-time students. In September, the colleges and universities project their full-year-equivalent enrollment for the current academic year. Officials use both measures to track trends across the system.

The enrollment numbers may differ from earlier reports by individual colleges and universities that were based on counts taken on a different date. Headcount enrollment typically continues to grow throughout the term and is likely to be substantially higher at the end of the semester.

"Our enrollment growth can be attributed to convenience, quality and choice," McCormick said. "Students can take classes near their homes and over the Internet to a growing extent, and our campuses offer a broad selection of programs that lead to better jobs.

"The economy certainly is one of the factors driving more students into college. When people lose their jobs or their sense of job security, many want to learn new skills or finish a degree they started earlier."

Note: See the attached table for enrollment numbers at each of the 34 state colleges and universities.