Greater-than-expected increase boosts enrollment at MnSCU system by 4.5%

Posted: October 17, 2007

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Growing numbers of online students and high school students taking college courses helped boost enrollment at the 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities by 4.5 percent over the last year, officials said today as they released enrollment figures.

This fall, the state college and university system has 180,848 students, an increase of 7,832 students from last fall's enrollment of 173,016. Last year, enrollment increased by 1.3 percent.

"We are gratified that we have a larger-than-expected enrollment increase," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "This growth provides some evidence that we are fulfilling one our missions - to increase access to higher education. Clearly, more Minnesotans recognize that a college education, whether it's a one-year degree from a technical college or one of our new doctoral degrees from a state university, is increasingly necessary for securing a promising future."

The number of students taking online courses grew by 29 percent to 33,082. The system offers 200 complete online programs and thousands of courses through Minnesota Online (www.minnesotaonline.org), which is the largest provider of online education in the state.

Enrollment of high school students in college courses, through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options program, jumped by 15 percent to 13,731. Under Minnesota law, high school students can take courses tuition-free at the state's public colleges and universities. This year, the Legislature appropriated some funds to school districts to bolster the program.

Enrollment increased by 12 percent among undergraduate transfer students and by 7 percent among males. Enrollment of females went up 4 percent. Students of color now make up 15 percent of the system's students, up from 14 percent in fall 2006, reflecting the increasing diversity of Minnesota's population. Enrollment among first-time undergraduates decreased by 1 percent.

Full-year-equivalent enrollment is projected to increase by 2.3 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 138,920 for the current year, compared with the actual full-year-equivalent enrollment of 135,839 for the 2006-2007 academic year.

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

View enrollment numbers pdf