Last Monday was the tenth day that MnSCU universities were back for fall semester. At the end of business that day, the data should’ve been compiled for MnSCU’s 10-day enrollment report. Select members of each university’s Faculty Association have been looking at the enrollment data since classes started.
What’s sinister is the fact that MnSCU’s had a week to compile a report that’s updated daily. The next question is to ask why it’s taken MnSCU that long to compile the report. It isn’t that I’m expecting the report to be published first thing Tuesday morning. It’s that it shouldn’t take a week.
The next question I’d ask is what’s causing this extended in publishing the report. I can’t prove what’s behind the delay. I certainly can speculate, though. At SCSU’s first Meet & Confer meeting, President Potter insisted multiple times that enrollment at SCSU would be down 5%. The basis for this post was Dr. Tom Fauchald’s Sept. 4th report, which was based on MnSCU’s enrollment figures. According to MnSCU’s data, St. Cloud State’s enrollment was down 12% as of Sept. 4, 2013.
It isn’t possible to think that SCSU’s enrollment will ‘just’ be down 5% when MnSCU’s statistics show them down by 12% a week into the school year. I won’t say that MnSCU is witholding the report to hide SCSU’s declining enrollment. Proving that assertion would be difficult at best.
It’s worth noting that SCSU didn’t report their 30-day number last year until after the midterms. The consensus then was that they didn’t publish the report because their numbers were that hideous. In terms of headcount figures, SCSU was down more than 800 students from the fall 2011 report. If SCSU is down 5% this year, that means SCSU’s enrollment will decline another 800 students. There’s a distinct possibility that SCSU’s headcount enrollment will be down 8% this year.
This graphic shows the enrollment trends since 2007:
That graph doesn’t paint a pretty picture for SCSU. MnSCU’s failure to publish a report they’ve had the data for since last week is almost as troubling as SCSU’s enrollment numbers. Putting things in context, though, the budgetary impact of SCSU’s declining enrollment is what’s most unsettling.
That MnSCU hasn’t published a report is troubling. The budgetary impact of SCSU’s declining enrollment is frightening.
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.