|Third week enrollment reaches 12,834|
Officials at the University of North Dakota are happy with the third-week enrollment count of 12,834 and an increase in the overall quality of UND's crop of freshmen.
UND attracted 1,870 new freshmen (exceeding its goal of 1,850), 751 transfer students (about 70 more than last year's 689), nearly 2,000 graduate students (1,978), and nearly 20 more professional students (479). In fact, UND's School of Law is one of only five law schools in the nation to see an increase in applications of 40 percent or more over the previous year. Nationally, law school applications were down by more than six percent.
"We are pleased to have again exceeded our target for entering freshmen. I am enormously proud of the efforts of lots of folks on this campus and beyond to make this happen," said Robert Boyd, vice president for student and outreach services. "This year’s freshman class is, because of UND’s admission standards, one of the most highly qualified ever. We have yet another large group (about 160) of Presidential Scholars -- our highest recognition scholarship for students -- coming in, for a total of more than 600 Presidential Scholars in our student body.
President Charles Kupchella said he is pleased with the overall numbers, particularly in light of record graduating classes in December, May, and August, and UND’s admission standards, which were made more rigorous "to ensure that all admitted students are 'ready to run' with their classmates."
"In our Strategic Plan we identified 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 this will depend on additional funding from the state in order to ramp up our capacity to deliver educational programs at a distance." He said UND, which already offers 31 degree-programs off campus, continues to make great strides in expanding its distance education opportunities.
Suzanne Anderson, UND's new registrar, said the University will actually serve quite a few more students than 13,000 during the course of the year. "Although it is the 'official enrollment' for the year, the third-week number is in reality 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 students throughout the remainder of the year," said Anderson.
The number also doesn't include those students who were admitted and enrolled and but who did not show up for classes during the first week of school; they have been subtracted from the third-week figures. Also not included are about 250 students trained by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences through UND's partnerships with other institutions of higher learning across the United States.
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.
"So altogether, the University of North Dakota will directly serve about 26,000 people this year," Kupchella said.
Under its Strategic Plan, UND will grow its enrollment during the next five years, but the University is realistic about what that will take, said Kupchella. "There are some factors we must work against as we pursue our enrollment goals," Kupchella said. As examples, he cited:
* Declining numbers of high school graduates in North Dakota. For several years already and projected into the next decade, the number of high school grads has declined and will continue to drop at the rate of about 2 percent per year.
"To put that into context," said Boyd, "since 1999 North Dakota has lost enough public school students (17,956) to equal the population of Jamestown and Carrington. And in the next two years, we're are projected to lose 4,513 school children, comparable to Mayville and Hazen combined."
* Increased intense recruiting competition and additional opportunities available in the Greater Grand Forks area and throughout the bi-state region.
* Duplication of UND’s programs by other institutions.
* The economy. Low unemployment and the availability of good-paying jobs often means lower demand, especially for graduate education.
* Fiscal constraints which affect program expansion and new program development.
* Fluctuating demand in key areas such as aviation.