Mankato and SCSU: An Enrollment Comparison
by Silence Dogood

The fgigure below shows the FYE enrollment for SCSU and Mankato for FY07 through FY13. This data is from the MnSCU website so there should be no question about the accuracy of the data.

The plots are remarkably similar for the first four years. In FY11, differences begin to appear. Mankato is still climbing but SCSU has a 0.8% decline in enrollment. In FY12 Mankato is still climbing while SCSU shows a decline of 6.93%. In FY13 Mankato shows a decline of 1.72% while SCSU declines 6.35%.

If we use the amount Mankato is down fall semester 2013 and predict that they will be down the same percentage this spring from last spring, Mankato’s FYE enrollment for FY14 will be 14,223. If we perform the same calculation and assume that SCSU will be down 5% this spring as compared to last spring, SCSU’s FYE enrollment will be 12,364. Adding these data for FY14 to the plot gives the figure below.

The data shows Mankato is slightly up for FY14 because, although they were down 0.4% in the fall, they were up 7.3% in the summer and the enrollment for the prior spring was slightly larger than their trends. In reality, Mankato’s enrollment might be about the same or slightly less than last year.

On the other hand, SCSU is down significantly and the assumption that enrollment will only be down 5% in the spring is probably not justified since the summer was down 5.4% and the fall was down 5.5%.

Say what you want about changing demographics. Mankato is only 140 miles south of South of St. Cloud and the two universities have had very similar histories. However, as clearly indicated by the data, Mankato is headed in a different direction than SCSU.

President Potter arrived at SCSU in the beginning of FY08 so it might be hard to credit him for the enrollment increases in FY09 and FY10. However, at some point President Potter’s administration’s actions have to become responsible for the enrollments at SCSU. According to the data for the last four years the trend is not a good one. Since FY10, SCSU’s enrollment has declined 18.1% (using SCSU’s optimistic projection for Spring 2014); it most likely will be down more than their prediction and the four-year enrollment decline will be closer to 19%. Over the same time period, Mankato is up 2.1%. Unless you can explain how the demographics for Mankato are significantly different than the demographics for SCSU, demographics can’t be used to explain away these differences.

Enrollment means tuition and the administration has indicated that, for FY14, there will be a loss of $3,140,326 due to a predicted decrease in enrollment of 5%. This data comes from budget data presented at Meet and Confer on September 5, 2013.

Since SCSU’s enrollment dropped 6.93% and 6.35% for FY12 and FY13, respectively, it is not hard to imagine that the lost tuition due to decreases in enrollment for FY12, FY13 and FY14 would be at least of the same order of magnitude each year. Note that tuition for FY14 was frozen at the same level as FY13 so this is likely a quite reasonable assumption. What is clear is that over the past three years, tuition revenue has dropped $9,000,000! This trend simply cannot continue into the future without significant program reductions and retrenchments.

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