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Postsecondary Enrollment Increases Slightly for 2005




Sandy Connolly
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
(651) 259-3902

Modest Enrollment Gains Posted at Minnesota's Postsecondary Institutions

Fall enrollment at Minnesota's colleges, universities and careers schools increased 1.3 percent over 2004, according to preliminary fall headcount figures released today by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Enrollment at public and private institutions statewide increased by 4,256 students, from 320,459 in fall 2004 to 324,715 in 2005, with most of the modest increase attributed to dramatic growth at some private career schools.

"Enrollment increases were more significant from 1998 to 2004 when we saw growth of three to six percent annually over a period of years," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Office of Higher Education. "As the number of Minnesota high school graduates statewide begins to level off, it's not surprising to see postsecondary enrollment begin to level off. Our challenge in Minnesota will be to continue to increase college participation, and move a greater share of prospective students into education and training."

Enrollment changes at public institutions across the state were flat, while private non-profit institutions posted a modest gain of 1.6 percent and private career schools posted the largest gains, with a 15 percent increase. The numbers do not include primarily online higher education providers such as Capella University. Enrollment at more established public and private institutions tends to fluctuate less over time than enrollment at smaller for-profit institutions.

There was little difference in percentage gains at metro versus non-metro institutions. Enrollment at institutions in the Twin Cities Metropolitan area increased 1.5 percent, while non-metro institutions increased 1.2 percent.

The fall figures provide a general picture of enrollment trends. Headcount enrollment is just one measure of enrollment based on the student headcount reported on the tenth day of fall term. 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. The agency serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on postsecondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends.

The 2005 Preliminary Enrollment Census is available.

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