Mankato and SCSU: A Graduate Enrollment Comparison
by Silence Dogood

Despite what people may say publically, Mankato is the enemy. Enemy might be a bit too strong of a word so let’s just say rival. This rivalry extends from the obvious sports connection to competition for programs and budgets.

The Figure below shows the graduate FYE enrollment for SCSU from Fall’06 to Fall’13. All data is from the MnSCU website.

Clearly, the first four years show substantial growth. However, also clearly shown is a significant decline over the past five years. The decline from 635 FYE in Fall’09 to 526 FYE in Fall’13 represents a decline of 17.2%. Despite rumors about ‘right sizing’, the drop reflected in the graph is both real and serious.

How is our rival doing? The Figure below adds the corresponding data for Minnesota State University—Mankato.

The data clearly shows that in Fall’06, SCSU and Mankato were within 1 FYE of each other. Over the next three years, SCSU moved slightly ahead of Mankato although the trends were remarkably similar. That’s where the similarity ends. In Fall’10, Mankato’s enrollment grew substantially — 9.85% — while SCSU’s enrollment declined slightly -1.42%, moving Mankato well ahead of SCSU.

The decline in enrollment for SCSU since the Fall’09 is both clear and disturbing—the decline is -17.2%. Mankato’s enrollment declined -6.76% for two years from its peak in Fall’10 but reversed the trend for Fall’13 and shows a growth of 3.63% from Fall’12 to Fall’13. The difference in graduate enrollment between SCSU and Mankato in Fall’13 is a total of 131 FYE, which corresponds to a difference of 19.9%.

Everyone knows that bigger isn’t better. However, that statement is more often made as a rationalization for being in second place. In comparing SCSU and Mankato graduate enrollment, Mankato is bigger and SCSU is a distant second. Also, the two institutions are on very different paths. Perhaps SCSU is on the ‘better’ path but I’d sure like to see the data supporting that assertion. I’m sure that Mankato is probably looking for people to praise for their apparent success. I’m also equally sure that SCSU is looking for people to blame.

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