In line with high school trends, NDUS enrollment declines slightly, but expects growth

December 18, 2014

Recently, the North Dakota University System released the official 2014 enrollment numbers for the 11 public colleges and universities in the state. Fall 2014 headcount enrollment was 47,660 compared to 48,015 in Fall 2013, reflecting a slight decrease of 0.7 percent. In comparison, the total number of public high school graduates decreased 0.22 percent from Spring 2012 to Spring 2013. The most recent year’s high school graduate data is not yet available. However, even with the high-school graduate decline in recent years, NDUS enrollment numbers have increased 13.95 percent since 2007.

“According to demographers, we know that the number of public high school graduates is currently declining, but our elementary and middle schools are bursting at the seams. We must be prepared for those future graduates to hit our institutions as early as 2018,” said Interim Chancellor Larry C. Skogen. “By continuing to offer high quality, valuable programs and working with statewide stakeholders to determine business needs, NDUS institutions are perfectly positioned to help fill the expanding demand for a skilled workforce in North Dakota.”

Headcount enrollment is the total number of students enrolled at the 11 University System campuses using all methods of instruction including on campus and online. Enrollment can be measured in a number of ways, but headcount enrollment reporting is used for federal data collection and other national comparisons.

Between 2012 and 2013, graduate enrollment saw an impressive increase of 6.7 percent. This year, total graduate enrollment reported a slight decline (1.6 percent), but left the majority of the previous year’s increase still intact reflecting strong student retention. Headcount enrollment at NDUS community colleges, regional and research institutions also followed the overall trend with a slight decline of 1.6 percent, 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Notably, online and Interactive Video Network (IVN) enrollments increased by 1.3 percent with 21,067 or 44.2 percent of all Fall 2014 students taking at least one distance education course. This builds on an impressive enrollment increase of 7.9 percent in distance education courses last year.

“The increased enrollment in distance education courses is indicative of the need and demand for alternative delivery methods from our institutions,” said Skogen. “Many of our institutions are doing a fantastic job embracing alternative delivery methods, and we’re looking forward to building up those options for North Dakota students in accordance with our new strategic plan.”

Additional highlights from the headcount enrollment information are as follows:

  • 77.6 percent attend NDUS universities, 22.4 percent attend NDUS community colleges.
  • 54.5 percent reported a North Dakota home address; 28.8 percent are from the contiguous states of Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota; 1.1 percent are from Canada; and the remaining 15.7 percent includes other out-of-state and international students.
  • 74.7 percent of the student body were traditional aged (24 years of age or younger), comparable to previous years.

The full report is available online here.