MnSCU enrollment up nearly 4 percent
An influx of new and part-time students helped boost enrollment this spring at the 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities by 3.7 percent over a year ago, officials said.
The state college and university system has 183,270 students, an increase of 6,503 students from last spring's enrollment of 176,767. The number of new students was up 8 percent from last spring, and part-time enrollment increased by 5 percent over a year ago.
"This larger-than-expected spring enrollment increase most likely reflects the current downturn in the economy," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "Enrollment typically goes up when the economy goes down. That's why our colleges and universities are key to the state's economic recovery. Laid-off workers can retrain for new careers and employed individuals can enhance their knowledge and skills to help stay employed.
"Although this economic downturn has reduced the workforce here and elsewhere, we also know that Minnesota's employers will still need more skilled workers in the coming years to replace retiring baby boomers and remain globally competitive," McCormick said.
Enrollment at the system's 25 two-year colleges increased this spring by 4.8 percent while the number of students at the seven state universities went up 1.5 percent. The larger increase at the colleges is not surprising considering they offer more short-term programs and allow anyone with a high school diploma to enroll. The enrollment gain continues a trend in recent years of more students enrolling in the state colleges and universities.
Besides short-term programs, the colleges and universities offer a wide range of associate, bachelor's and graduate degree programs, and tuition remains among the most affordable in the state.
The numbers released this week were the official enrollment count of students taking credit-based courses on the 30th day of the spring semester.