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Enrollment at Two-Year Colleges Increases While Overall Enrollment is Flat




Contact: Sandy Connolly, Director of Communications
Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Fall enrollment at Minnesota's colleges, universities and career schools increased 3.6 percent over 2007, according to preliminary figures released today by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Enrollment at public and private institutions statewide increased by 12,371 students, from 341,484 in fall 2007 to 353,855 in 2008. Minnesota's public and private two-year colleges gained enrollment, with a 3.7 percent increase at public community and technical colleges and an increase of 25.5 percent enrolled at private career colleges.

"The enrollment numbers reflect the economic conditions we face," said Susan Heegaard, director of the Office of Higher Education, the agency that collects and reports student enrollment data. "Because two-year colleges offer more career-specific and short-term training and education, they have historically experienced enrollment growth during economic downturns. People displaced by the economic downturn who cannot find work often return to school to retrain for a new career."

Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Changes 2007 to 2008
System 2007 2008 Percent Change
University of Minnesota66,09966,3120.3%
Minnesota State Colleges & Universities:
State universities
Community & technical colleges
Private colleges & universities66,06966,7191.0%
Private career schools24,78931,10025.5%
Private graduate schools3,6793,574-2.9%

Undergraduate and graduate preliminary fall headcount enrollment.

Numbers do not include primarily online higher education providers.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Enrollment at residential four-year colleges and universities tends to remain relatively consistent over time, as admissions offices manage the size of the freshmen class each year. As a group, private career colleges tend to experience the greatest fluctuation in enrollment as new providers move in and out of the marketplace.

The fall headcount figures provide a general snapshot of enrollment trends, and are based on the number of students enrolled on the 10th day of classes at institutions across the state. Headcount enrollment is just one measure of enrollment and the data do not take into account full- or part-time status of students. Most institutions use more than one method to measure enrollment.

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a cabinet-level state agency providing students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education and serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends.

The full preliminary fall headcount report is available online.

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