Posted: October 19, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Enrollment at the 32 Minnesota state colleges and universities held steady over the last year, officials said today as they released enrollment figures.

This fall, the system has 170,754 students, an increase of 341 students from last fall's enrollment of 170,413. That is a 0.2 percent (two-tenths of a percent) increase.

Enrollment increased at 13 colleges and three state universities and decreased at 13 colleges and four state universities. Overall, enrollment was up 1 percent at the seven state universities and down 0.3 percent (three tenths of a percent) at the community and technical colleges.

While slightly more students are enrolled this fall, they are taking fewer course credits. The full-year-equivalent enrollment in credits is projected to decrease by 0.7 percent for the current year. (Full-year equivalent enrollment is calculated by adding up the credits taken by all students and dividing by the number of credits considered to be a full-time course load - 30 credits per year for undergraduates and 20 credits for graduate students.)

Campuses project a full-year-equivalent enrollment of 134,584 for the current year, compared with the actual full-year-equivalent enrollment of 135,494 for the 2004-2005 academic year.

System officials said they are concerned that recent tuition increases over the past few years may make it more difficult for students to begin or complete their education. Last spring, about 17 percent of the students who participated in a system survey said they have stopped taking all courses for at least one semester to earn more money for educational expenses. Research on what is known as "student persistence" shows that many students who "stop out" ultimately do not complete their studies.

Factors other than tuition increases may have influenced enrollment shifts.

  • In northeastern Minnesota, enrollment declined significantly at a few colleges because a sizeable number of workers who had been laid off within the last three years completed short-term educational programs.
  • Cuts in funding for educational programs offered at Minnesota correctional facilities by state colleges and universities caused some colleges, including South Central College, to discontinue those programs, leading to enrollment decreases.
  • Changes in the state's economy may affect enrollment. Traditionally, enrollment tends to decline when the economy improves and people have an easier time finding jobs.

The numbers released today were the official enrollment count on the 30th day of the fall semester.

Note: View related enrollment chart. (15 KB PDF)