Enrollment Numbers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
by Silence Dogood

According to a press release by SCSU:

“The university remains the largest in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and the second largest public university in the state.”

Looking at duplicated headcount, as of October 18, 2013, SCSU has 16,246 students compared to Mankato’s 15,378. Minnesota State University—Mankato has traditionally been our rival because of its size and similarity to SCSU. So according to the headcount data, SCSU wins! We are the biggest (and hopefully) the best state university in Minnesota.

A closer analysis of the data may tell a different story. When you look a breakdown of the enrollment status from the MnSCU website for these students you find the data presented in following table:

While SCUS has 868 more students than Mankato, Mankato has 1,624 more full-time students taking on average 0.8 credits more than SCSU. SCSU wins the contest as the second largest university in Minnesota because of a much larger investment in the Senior to Sophomore Program (where high school students get college credits for courses taken in high school).

However, when you look at full year equivalent students (FYE), the number upon which budgets are based the data is quite clear and significantly different. Mankato has 6,700.8 FYE compared to SCSU’s 6,014.7 FYE. Since budgets are based on FYE not headcount, Mankato has an 11.4% larger budget to educate a smaller number of students. So in the comparisons of the budgets, Mankato wins. Given the choice, I personally think that Mankato is the better situation to be in. How do you decide on who’s the ‘largest,’ I guess you decide where you fit with the data. If you think the largest headcount number of students is the criterion, then SCSU wins; if you think budgets and full-time students is the criterion then Mankato wins. Now let’s talk about something really important the BCS college football rankings!

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