MSU Denver by the numbers
Fall student census shows key gains and some downward trends.
September 18, 2018
More than 19,000 students chose to build their futures at Metropolitan State University of Denver this year. The precise number — 19,258, according to the newly released Fall 2018 Student Census — marks a 1.5 percent overall undergraduate-enrollment decrease from fall 2017, but this figure obscures several promising trends.
MSU Denver continues to be a top destination for first-generation college students. First-gen students this fall represented 49.1 percent of the student body, and growth among students ages 19 or younger was 6.1 percent. Out-of-state undergraduate enrollment grew by 6.2 percent since last fall.
“Even though overall new-student (enrollment was) down compared to last fall, (it is) still up considerably compared to two, three and four years ago,” said Lori Kester, associate vice president of enrollment management.
Perhaps most notably, diversity is on the rise. Kester noted that Latino student enrollment is up 2.2 percentage points at 28.4 percent overall. Students of color compose 44.5 percent of the student body, a 2.7-percentage-point increase from last year, with the most growth seen among students self-identifying as Asian, African American or multiracial.
A marked increase in graduate-student enrollment also looks promising as MSU Denver attracted 20.4 percent more graduate students from fall 2017 to fall 2018. New students now are 35.1 percent of all graduate students, up from 31.9 percent in fall 2017.
Areas of opportunity
Despite a modest dip in total enrollment, undergraduate students’ average credit-hour load held steady at 11.6. This means students on average are taking more credit hours per semester, which may indicate that efforts to encourage students to enroll full-time vs. part-time to reduce the time needed to earn their degrees have been successful.
As in recent years, a thriving economy is the primary factor in the enrollment decrease. Kester added that MSU Denver is facing increased competition from in-state and out-of-state schools as well as increased student demand for online and accelerated degree programs — which the University is tackling. Undergraduate interest in MSU Denver’s online and hybrid courses grew to 45.9 percent this fall — up from 44.6 percent last year.
Continued decreases in transfer students and adult students were also areas of concern for Kester, who stressed the ongoing need to prioritize student retention and completion. About 60 percent of the decline in enrollment is associated with the new students and 40 percent with readmitting or continuing students.