St. Cloud State, MnSCU system post student enrollment declines in 2011

St. Cloud State, MnSCU system post student enrollment declines in 2011 Click to Enlarge Photo:

Oct 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI, AP) - After five straight years of surging enrollment, the classrooms and lecture halls of St. Cloud State University are just a touch less crowded this school year.

According to 30-day numbers released by the university Thursday, St. Cloud State saw this year's enrollment fall nearly 6 percent to a total student body of 17,231, representing a decline of 1,088 students from 2010.

"This is not an unexpected change although the extent of the shift was somewhat surprising," SCSU Provost Devinder Malhotra said. "We anticipated shifts in enrollment patterns as we incorporate the changes that are moving the university from where we are to where we want to be."

MnSCU ENROLLMENT: See 2011 30-day enrollment figures for the 31 campuses in the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system

Malhotra said the enrollment decrease was partially a result of eliminating 32 university academic programs last year.

While St. Cloud State remained the largest school in the MnSCU system, that may not be the case 12 months from now. Minnesota State University-Mankato posted a 1.7 percent enrollment increase this year with 15,649 students.

Following five consecutive years of increasing enrollment, the decline marked the sharpest drop in student body size among the Minnesota Colleges and Universities system in 2011. Across the 31-campus system, overall enrollment was down 1.5 percent to 200,716 students. The slight decrease was attributed to the large number of students who enrolled at the start of the recession who have now graduated.

Among the more than 200,000 students now enrolled in credit-bearing courses in the MnSCU system, and a record 43,141 of them are members of racial minorities. That number rose 4.6 percent this year and now account for 22 percent of the student body, up from just below 21 percent in fall 2010.

There were 131,679 students in MnSCU colleges and 69,037 in system universities.

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