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MnSCU Enrollments
by Silence Dogood

As of February 7, 2015, enrollments at all of the MnSCU universities are down as compared to last year. However, despite the fact that they are all down, they are not all down by the same amount. The following figure shows the declines in FYE enrollment at the seven MnSCU universities.

Clearly, there is a lot of “red” in the figure. As it has for the previous three years, SCSU leads the way with the largest decline in enrollment. The good news is that with the additional concurrent enrollment still to be entered, SCSU might decrease its decline and move into a tie with Moorhead.

It is also clear from the figure that President Potter’s “Perfect Storm” of enrollment decline is not hitting all of the campuses the same way. Three campuses are hovering around a 1% decline; two others are just above 2%, while the last two are down approximately 5%. Unfortunately for SCSU, it is in the group that is down approximately 5%.

Moorhead’s enrollment drop from FY11 (6,812 FYE) to FY15 (5,987 FYE) is 825 FYE, which corresponds to a drop of 12.1%. SCSU’s enrollment drop from FY10 (15,096 FYE) to FY15 (11,749 FYE) is 3,347 FYE and corresponds to a drop of 22.2%. SCSU’s decline is a composite of four years in a row of declines 5% or larger. No MnSCU university has ever been able to accomplish that before!

Additionally, Moorhead’s Composite Financial Index (CFI) is high enough that it is not required to come up with a ‘bail out plan.’ Thus, despite its enrollment being down 12.1% over the past four years, it is still sound financially. Contrast this with SCSU whose CFI has been described as “being in the toilet” requires a more correctly described “Financial Recovery Plan.”

The future for SCSU? Fewer faculty, fewer students, and fewer sections of classes. For the classes that are offered, there will be less resources and larger class sizes. Does anyone really think that this is a more successful model for higher education?

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