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St. Cloud State’s fall semester started on Aug. 26th, meaning the tenth day of classes was Sept. 9th. At the end of business on Sept. 9th, the 10-day enrollment numbers should’ve been known. The MnSCU database would’ve updated that Tuesday morning at 4:30.

That means St. Cloud State officials had the 10-day enrollment figures Tuesday, Sept. 10th. It’s now Sept. 20th. Thus far, President Potter hasn’t released their 10-day enrollment report. When enrollment was increasing, the Potter administration had the report out a day or two after the cutoff. They wanted the good news reported ASAP. That’s perfectly understandable.

Now that enrollment is declining, it appears the administration wants to bury the bad news. Apparently, they don’t want to admit that enrollment is falling off a cliff because it means they’ll have to admit that tuition revenues are dropping and significant budget cuts are heading SCSU’s direction.

It’s noteworthy that President Potter repeatedly insisted at the first Meet & Confer meeting of the school year that enrollment would drop by 5% this year compared with last year. According to the MnSCU reports, it’s dropped by more than 8%.

Considering the fact that President Potter told a member of the University Foundation’s Trustees that enrollment would be down by 3%, it’s understandable why they don’t want to publish the real enrollment figures. Admitting that enrollment is down 8% wouldn’t let the administration tell fictions like enrollment being down 3%.

The administration wouldn’t be able to gloss over enrollment as not being a big deal. If they published the numbers, they’d have to admit that things are going terribly wrong. The other important thing worth remembering is that numbers are solidifying with each day. There aren’t many students still left to enroll at this point. Friday, Sept. 20 is the 19th day of the semester, or two-thirds of the way to the 30-day report.

That 30-day report is what MnSCU bases their budgets on.

Remember that the key point to remember is that the administration has the data. They could release it this morning if they wanted to. The 10-day numbers aren’t changing. For that matter, the 30-day budget numbers won’t change much, either.

When President Potter announced the closing of the Aviation program, here’s what he told a campus audience:

PRESIDENT POTTER: Aviation isn’t here anymore. I want to say a little bit about why it’s not. It is not just a financial matter. Aviation is…financially, it was not successful and the cost of securing its future was prohibitive.

Given what our funding situation is and what it looks like in the future, but also we went extensively with the wrongs from the program. And the curriculum was not focused and in order as seen by the employers of our graduates and the alums who look at the curriculum.

Accreditors noted that and for two years, no progress was made. Accreditors noted the deficiency of the curriculum and for two years, no progress was made and it was my judgment that, not only financially and programmatically, did we not have a program that didn’t align with the core mission of the university successfully but that it was unlikely that it would get there.

That was his story on Dec. 10, 2010. When President Potter met with the St. Cloud City Council in Aug., 2011, he’d changed his story:

“It was not a judgment that it was a poor program…it was a successful program.”

It’s apparent that President Potter has difficulty keeping his story straight when he’s pressured. We first saw it with shutting the Aviation program down. Now we’re seeing that with enrollment reporting.

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