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This St. Cloud Times article is insulting. First, the statistics aren’t accurate. This graph is from MnSCU:

According to this graphic, headcount enrollment for FY2010, which is for the 2010-2011 school year, was approximately 18,300 students. That dropped to approximately 17,200 for the 2011-12 school year before dropping to 16,400 for the 2012-2013 school year. Here’s what the St. Cloud Times reported:

For fall 2013, enrollment is at 16,245. Last year, it was 16,457. That’s a 1.3 percent drop. It dropped 4.8 percent from 2011 to 2012. St. Cloud State had enjoyed five years of growth previously.

The graph showing MnSCU’s data shows that enrollment dropped from a high of 18,300 in 2010-11 to 16,400 in 2012-13. That’s a drop of 1,900 students. That’s a 10.4% drop. That’s before factoring in this fall’s 30-day numbers. I don’t have the official statistics for this year’s enrollment but it was significantly less than 16,000 on Sept. 14, 2013. That’s a drop of approximately 13%.

Let’s examine the accuracy of this statement:

St. Cloud State had enjoyed five years of growth previously.

In terms of headcount enrollment, there was a drop of 1,100 students between the fall semester of 2010 and the fall semester of 2011. There was another drop of approximately 800 students from fall 2011 to fall 2012. There’s been a drop of approximately 400 students from the fall of 2012 to this fall.

What’s noteworthy is that headcount enrollment is mostly irrelevant for policymakers. What’s important to policymakers and budget people is the FYE enrollment. Malhotra knows that because FYE enrollment is what budgets are based off of. Headcount enrollment might as well be called show and tell enrollment because it’s what spinmeisters like Malhotra show the public to tell them their sinking ship is just fine.

FYE enrollment, as I’ve reported at LFR, isn’t fine. According to MnSCU’s numbers, St. Cloud State is down another 5.6% this year from last. Last year’s enrollment was down 4.5% from 2011. Those are bad enough but they aren’t the biggest drop. The biggest drop, in FYE enrollment, was 5.9% from fall 2010 to fall 2011.

Malhotra isn’t being straight with the public either. If things are just fine, why did the administration confirm at this week’s Meet & Confer that they’ll be cutting the budget by $2,911,000? Universities don’t just cut spending by $3,000,000 for chuckles. They do it because their ship is sinking.

St. Cloud State has closed one dorm entirely. The occupancy rate at the other dorms is 70%. Healthy universities don’t have that much empty space in their dorms. If not for LFR, the public wouldn’t be getting this information. The St. Cloud Times’ stenography service certainly won’t tell people what’s really happening there.

St. Cloud State put out these numbers because the important numbers are frightening to them. If the FYE enrollment numbers for the past 3 years were given to the Times, people would know that St. Cloud State was in financial and systemic difficulty.

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3 Responses to “St. Cloud Times: SCSU’s stenographer”

  • Patrick says:

    and to think President Potter is off traveling the world while the crisis continues at home. Ya know closing the Aviation program, cutting homecoming and decreasing office administration support in favor of centralizing scheduling and curriculum processing only starts to explain the enrollment decline.

  • walter hanson says:

    Gary:

    Here is where you expose the outright lie in the SCSU.

    You write (not to mention call the editor):

    Dear Editor:

    according to a story you wrote on enrollment at SCSU that SCSU had five years of previous enrollment increases. That will be for the years 2006-2011. Um since enrollment dropped in 2010 from 18,300 to just 17,200 in 20111 that statement isn’t accurate!

    Can you please list for me and all your readers the other lies you told on purpose since you didn’t want to tell the truth to your readers!

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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