Posted: October 18, 2006
Contact: Doug Anderson, email@example.com, 651-201-1426
Enrollment at the 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities rose slightly over the last year, officials said today as they released enrollment figures.
This fall, the system has 173,016 students, an increase of 2,262 students from last fall's enrollment of 170,754. That is a 1.3 percent increase.
Enrollment increased at 17 colleges and four state universities and decreased at nine colleges and three state universities. Overall, enrollment was up by 2.4 percent at the community and technical colleges and down about 0.6 percent at the seven state universities.
The full-year-equivalent enrollment in credits is projected to increase by 0.6 percent for the current year. (Full-year-equivalent enrollment is calculated by adding 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.)
The colleges and universities project a full-year-equivalent enrollment of 134,989 for the current year, compared with the actual full-year-equivalent enrollment of 134,220 for the 2005-2006 academic year.
Some factors that affect enrollment include:
- More students taking online courses. This fall, more than 26,500 students are taking online courses, a 36 percent increase compared to last fall. Online courses accounted for nearly 6 percent of the system's full-year-equivalent enrollment in 2005-2006. The system offers about 160 complete online programs including about 1,800 courses through Minnesota Online and is the largest provider of online education in the state.
- A coordinated effort by system institutions to make it easier for students to take courses and transfer among the 32 colleges and universities. In northwestern Minnesota, for example, enrollment grew significantly at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Northland Community and Technical College and Northwest Technical College largely due to a pilot program that provides coordinated access to online courses.
- A declining pool of high school graduates. According to Minnesota Office of Higher Education projections, the number of students graduating from Minnesota high schools peaked in 2004 at 63,347. By 2006, the number was projected to have declined to 60,581.
- Changes in the state's economy. 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.
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.