Enrollment tops 18,000

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


St. Cloud State University enrollment surpassed the 18,000 mark this fall, according to the 30th-day enrollment figures for the 2010-11 academic year released today.

Total enrollment was listed at 18,319, up 3.6 percent from the year before. That is 634 students more than last year when enrollment was 17,685, said Mahmoud Saffari, associate vice president for enrollment management.

That number is likely to increase by another 200 to 300 students in the coming weeks as high school students involved in the Senior-to-Sophomore program are registered. Currently, 2,149 senior-to-sophomore high school students are taking classes at St. Cloud State. That’s 251 more students, or a 13.2 percent increase from a year ago.

And even though the increase in students means that tuition revenues are up, that is only one part of the revenue stream, said Devinder Malhotra, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Decreases in state appropriations have led to budget cuts at St. Cloud State this fall and a reorganization effort that will help the university serve the increased number of students in a “fiscally challenging time.”

One of the largest increases in enrollment is with students of color. That number increased from 1,560 a year ago to 1,706 this fall, an increase of 9.4 percent.

“We are very proud of the increase in the number of students of color,” Saffari said. Seven years ago there were approximately 600 students of color enrolled.

Saffari pointed to initiatives such as publications and advertising in Hmong and Spanish newspapers as well as recruiting videos in Hmong, Spanish and Somali languages. Plus, programs such as “Dare to Dream: Make Higher Education a Reality” reach out to students of color and their families, he said.

“The recruitment and retention of students of color at St. Cloud State has been a top priority, not only this year, but consistently. And it’s not just retention of students of color, it’s across the board.”

For instance, the retention of students in the Division of General Studies, which are students who have shown academic potential, is up 7 percent this fall. The fall-to-fall retention of students of color is up more than 8 percent, the highest in five years.

Said Saffari: “These increases have been by design in terms of both recruitment and retention. I’m very impressed and glad with MnSCU for giving us access and opportunity dollars to help us in these efforts and creating a more student-centered environment.”

Another sizeable increase came in the number of students returning to St. Cloud State. That number was up 5.5 percent from 10,421 a year ago to 10,994 this year.

The number of international students at St. Cloud State is 1,101, 6 percent of the total student body and approximately the same as a year ago. And the number of graduate students is also approximately the same. There are 1,906 graduate students or 10.4 percent of the total number of students. Saffari also pointed out that the incoming freshman class had a higher ACT average than last year’s freshman class.

For more information, contact Mahmoud Saffari at 320-308-3982.

- Mike Nistler

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