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22,976: the fall 2012 undergraduate headcount

By Cliff Foster

Undergraduate enrollment stands at 22,976, and students of color now make up a third of the student body, the fall 2012 census shows.

The undergrad full-time equivalent (FTE) is down 1.9 percent, which is slightly better than the 2 percent estimate reported earlier. Headcount enrollment is down 2.6 percent from last year, or 602 students. Judi Diaz Bonacquisti, associate vice president for enrollment management, says there are many reasons for the decrease, including students returning to the workforce before graduation or losing their Pell Grant eligibility.

Roughly 93 percent of undergrads are from the seven-county metro area. To build enrollment, she says, the University is considering ways to attract more non-resident students while maintaining the University’s commitment to Colorado, an issue President Stephen Jordan raised in his Welcome Back remarks on Sept. 6.

“There are ways we can showcase great programs that can help us be extremely competitive…and be attractive to students beyond Denver and Colorado,” she says. “So we have to figure out on the recruitment side how we take some of these great academic offerings and package them to students who would be interested in coming here from out of state.”

Enrollment has implications for the University’s bottom line because two-thirds of the budget is funded through tuition. However, Vice President for Administration, Finance and Facilities Natalie Lutes says the measurement used for tuition revenue production this year is in line with projections, and that it appears reserve funds set aside since 2010 will be enough to avoid departmental reductions. Another revenue analysis will be done later in the month, she says.

Students of color increased by 180 and now account for 33.2 percent of the student body, up from 31.6 percent in fall 2011 and 28.4 percent in fall 2010. An 194 student increase in Latinos helped offset declines in African American, American Indian or Alaska native, Asian, and native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students. The number of white undergrads dropped by 613. The category of two or more races grew by about 12 percent, which could account for a portion of the decline in other categories.

Latino students make up about 19.5 percent of the University’s student body compared to 18.2 percent last year. A new calculation to determine the University’s progress toward achieving the federal designation of a Hispanic Serving Institution reflects the number of students and the total credit hours they are taking. By that measure, the University is at 18.1 percent, higher than projected for this fall and closing in on the 25 percent goal that will win MSU Denver HSI status.

Undocumented students who are taking advantage of the University’s non-resident tuition rate are not included in the institution’s HSI calculations. A total of 237 students—147 part-time and 90 full-time—enrolled under the new rate; 102 are continuing students and 135 are new students.

Other insights from the census include:

· Female students decreased by 434, males by 168;

· The number of Pell-eligible students decreased by 1,454 or 17.3 percent;

· The only age group that showed growth was 35 to 39—four students. The average age of undergrads is 26;

· The top 10 majors are: Biology, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Management, Psychology, Art, Accounting, Marketing, Human Performance and Sport, English, and Hospitality, Tourism and Events.


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