To: SCSU Faculty
From: Gary Gross, citizen journalist
Subject: St. Cloud State’s declining enrollment

If people only listened to President Potter’s predictions, they might think St. Cloud State was in solid shape financially. That’d be a mistake because his enrollment predictions have been pretty worthless. Last spring, the administration predicted enrollment would be down 2.4%. Later they predicted it would be down 2.8%-3.2%.

According to MnSCU’s data for Sept. 4, enrollment at St. Cloud State was down 12%. They’ve made up ground since then but it’s still down 6.4%. By comparison, Minnesota State-Mankato is down .6%:

Even if you use the worst case scenario from last spring, their projection vs. today’s reality was off by 100%. In other words, their projections weren’t even close. Their predictions were, putting it politely, SWAG. SWAG is the acronym for Statistical Wild Ass Guess. They might’ve had better luck had they thrown darts at a dartboard while blindfolded.

People who can’t identify how bad the problem is certainly can’t be trusted to figure out a solution to St. Cloud State’s enrollment crisis. And yes, crisis is the right word. St. Cloud State’s FYE enrollment, which is what the above report reflects, has dropped by approximately 15% over the last 3 years.

Yesterday, I wrote this post about the financial mismanagement of the University. I wrote then about the budget implications the declining enrollment and the financial mismanagement are having. I believe that that’s the proper way of looking at these things. Looking at one without the other doesn’t give you, the professors, the complete picture.

The reality is that budget cuts are heading in your departments’ directions. In fact, the administration has admitted that it needs to cut $2,861,117 from the budget. Provost Malhotra tried spinning that by saying $2,861,117 represents just .3% of St. Cloud State’s budget. Whether that’s accurate or not, $2,861,117 isn’t a trivial figure. That will have a serious impact on the budget.

It’s important you ask yourself this question: Do you trust this administration to make the decisions needed to pull the University out of this enrollment crisis? Here’s another question you should ask yourself: Considering the foolish decisions they’ve made the past 3 years, do they deserve the opportunity to right the ship?

If you answered no to either question, your path forward is clear.

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