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The Case of the Vanishing Summer School Students
by Silence Dogood

The enrollment data for Summer School 2014 is in and it doesn’t look good! The MnSCU website lists summer FYE enrollment for Sum’14 at SCSU as 916 FYE. This compares to an enrollment of 1,011 FYE for Sum’13 and corresponds to a one-year decline of 95 FYE, which translates to a drop of 9.4%!

The FYE enrollment data for summer since 2005 is shown in the following Figure (the data comes from the Office of Strategy, Planning & Effectiveness website and for 2005-2013—the data for 2014 comes from the MnSCU website because the FY14 enrollment data on the Office of Strategy, Planning & Effectiveness website has not been updated) [http://www.stcloudstate.edu/ospe/research/data.asp]

Figure 1. FYE summer school enrollment for SCSU from 2005 through 2014.

From Figure 1 you can see that after relatively constant enrollment from 2005 through 2008 and even a small growth in enrollment between 2007 and 2010, summer school enrollment has come crashing down. The tabulated annual declines in enrollment are shown for the four straight years of decline.

Table 1. Year to year enrollment changes as a percent change in FYE.

From 2010 forward on a year-to-year basis the data does not look good. However, when looked at from Sum’10 to Sum’14, the four-year drop in enrollment is a staggering 30.9%!

One can speculate that SCSU is still ‘right sizing’. However, as of yet, no enrollment management plan has been presented so everyone is left to simply guess what the ‘right size’ is for SCSU. Perhaps when we get there, the administration will tell us.

One of the reasons Dr. Mahmoud Saffari (Vice President for Enrollment Management) was dismissed in September of 2011 was supposedly his failure to develop an enrollment management plan. In the three years since Dr. Saffari’s departure, the SCSU administration hasn’t put together an enrollment management plan. Meanwhile, enrollment is still dropping. It’s interesting that no one else has been fired! The only thing we know for sure is that enrollment at SCSU, at the end of FY14, was at 12,400 FYE. That means SCSU is smaller than at any time since 1999, when the FYE enrollment was 12,576.

Last spring, the administration projected that enrollment for FY15 would be down 3.3%. That would put the FYE enrollment at 11,990. SCSU may not have been under 12,000 FYE as far back as the early 1980’s but it is not possible to reliably go back any further because the data is not readily available.

I guess it’s fair to say that the administration is hoping that fall enrollments won’t continue the 9.4% drop evidenced in the summer or a 3.3% projected drop in enrollment for FY15 will just be a fantasy.

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5 Responses to “SCSU’s declining enrollment continues”

  • Wanderer says:

    In his abrupt and aggressive dismissal of Dr. Saffari, President Potter seems to have “killed the goose that laid the golden eggs.” Too bad for SCSU, because since Dr. Saffari left, the enrollment office has suffered personnel shuffling and lack of coherent leadership that apparently was unable to either continue Dr. Saffari’s successful practices or put together its own plan, building upon that success.

  • Crimson Trace says:

    Three years later and there is still no enrollment plan? That’s irresponsible and inexcusable! It will be interesting to see another year of more enrollment decline. The question is how much will enrollments drop again? What would Rosenstone do?

  • Jethro says:

    Carl: thanks for sharing however there has been a pattern of abuse on the SCSU campus. When will it be called out? http://www.letfreedomringblog.com/?p=14712

  • Reader says:

    Apparently the SCSU Office of Institutional Research has been reporting an exponential growth in part-time students particularly in the ‘All other undergraduates enrolled in credit courses’ column of the Common Data Set. As the FYE enrollment trends massively downward they keep increasing this column in the part-time tally to ensure that SCSU can continue to claim the (incorrect) title of ‘Second Largest University in the State of Minnesota’.

    Gary, I recommend you look into this further. Research whether these numbers are actually factual.

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