|UND third week enrollment at 12,559|
For the fifth time in its history, the University of North Dakota has eclipsed the 12,500 mark. UND’s final third-week enrollment is 12,559, according to Suzanne Anderson, UND registrar.
Anderson said the University will actually serve quite a few more students during the course of the year. "The third week number is the 'official enrollment' for the year, but in reality, it is a snapshot only of the students registered on the first day of the third week of school. It doesn't include many of the students that we serve. UND typically enrolls an additional 2,000 or so degree-seeking students throughout the remainder of the year," said Anderson.
The number also doesn't include students trained by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences through UND's partnerships across the United States and with other countries.
UND President Charles Kupchella said UND also serves an additional 10,500 people who participate in workshops, conferences, and similar learning opportunities through the Division of Continuing Education.
"The University of North Dakota will directly serve about 26,000 people this year," Kupchella said.
UND saw growth in the Graduate School, with 1,985 students (the Graduate School’s third-highest enrollment) compared to 1,978 in 2006. That’s good news for the University, said Kupchella. The Graduate School has shown strong increases -- up 500 students from 2000-01 academic year, when the enrollment was 1,492 – and has shown stable enrollments in recent years. That is consistent with UND’s Strategic Plan, said Kupchella. The plan states that graduate students will represent 20 percent of UND’s student body. The increase in graduate students, particularly at the doctoral level, also has a significant impact as UND works to increase its research enterprise. In fiscal year 2007, UND recorded more than $100 million in sponsored programs and research.
“I am pleased to report that enrollments have stabilized at approximately 2,000 students,” said Joey Benoit, Graduate School dean. “This is noteworthy given that we have also awarded more graduate degrees and certificates in recent years. Enrollments are up, but so is degree completion. However, I am far more excited about the demographic shifts that are occurring in the students that we are attracting to UND. The emergence of UND as a nationally ranked research university is allowing us to compete for the best and brightest minds in the country and world. In many instances, UND is now the first-choice for students seeking advanced degrees. Quality research and professional programs, coupled with internationally recognized faculty is resulting in the Graduate School at UND becoming the first-choice for students outside of upper Midwest. At the national level, we are becoming a ‘Force to be Reckoned With.’ Strategic planning is paying off and our reputation as a world class university continues to grow.”
UND attracted 1,855 new freshmen, 674 transfer students, and 489 professional students. In fact, UND's School of Law had nearly 700 applications for 70 slots. Nationally, law school applications were down by more than six percent. Other professional programs, such as the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy, routinely have many more applicants than the University can serve.
As is typical, some areas saw growth, such as the School of Engineering and Mines and the professional programs, medicine and law, while others saw decreases, such as the College of Education and Human Development and the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. Often those fluctuations are tied to national trends. Overall, the University is down 275 (2.1 percent) compared to the fall 2006 (12,834).
Overall, the University is happy with the quality of the new freshman class, said Robert Boyd, vice president for student and outreach services. "Because of the new admission standards we put in place in 2005, this year’s freshman class is one of the most highly qualified ever. For example, the overall ACT score for our new freshmen, not including provisionally admitted students, is 24, which meets the goal of the UND Strategic Plan. We have yet another large group (153 from 17 states and one Canadian Province) of Presidential Scholars -- our highest recognition scholarship for students -- coming in, for a total of 512 Presidential Scholars in our student body. These students often emerge as leaders, such as Jay Fisher, president, and Jordan Buhr, vice president, of student government.”
"Our Strategic Plan identifies about 12,000 students as our optimal on-campus capacity, and we continue to be at about that level," said Kupchella. "We have a very fine student body that fits comfortably on our campus. We would like to grow by an additional 2,000 students over the next few years, but we want to do this with distance education students. And we are making headway in that area. Our School of Engineering and Mines, for example, is experiencing significant growth through its nationally-recognized, one-of-a-kind distance education program. Students can pursue four bachelor degrees through the program.”
Kupchella said the University’s ability to significantly grow its distance education program is dependent on obtaining additional state funding. “That will allow us to ramp up our capacity to deliver educational programs at a distance,” said Kupchella. He said UND, which already offers more than 30 degree-programs off campus, continues to make great strides in expanding its distance education opportunities.
Greg Weisenstein, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said UND continues to be an excellent institution with an excellent reputation. He learned that first hand, he said, during a bus trip around the state last October with UND’s deans. As further evidence, he points to recent rankings in U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly. The Washington Monthly list of National Universities places UND among the country's top 70 public universities (UND is 69, up 31 spots from last year). Throw the private schools, including the big name Ivy League institutions, into the mix and UND ranks 117 -- up 52 places from last year (169).