Enrollment update 

  • Fall 2022 undergraduate state-funded full-year, full-time-equivalent students (FY FTES) enrollment is 4,051, which is 9.74% lower than last fall at the same point in time (six weeks before start of term). 
  • Total undergraduate student head count is 11,612, which is 7.4% lower (932 fewer students) compared with last fall (includes state- and cash-funded undergraduates). The discrepancy between FTES and head count highlights the fact that students are taking lighter credit-hour loads this year compared with last year. 
  • Graduate-level FY FTES are down 5.6% for fall 2022 relative to last fall. 
  • Total graduate-student head count is 1,045, which is 3.3% lower (36 fewer students) compared with last fall. 
  • Given current levels and historical trends, MSU Denver can predict fall 2022 census numbers that are 8.9% lower than last fall’s census in terms of undergraduate state-funded FY FTEs. 

Given current enrollment trends (including credit-hour-load behaviors in conjunction with historical patterns of registration timing), Sean Petranovich, Ph.D., director of Data and Analytics, anticipates a fall 2022 census level of undergraduate state-funded, full-year FTES that is 8.9% lower than the fall 2021 census and has revised the undergraduate-enrollment head-count forecast from the initial baseline of 6% down to 6.5% down. 

Petranovich added that while there are additional enrollment-related initiatives that are either ongoing or soon to begin, and while the University hopes and strives to make up ground, it would be prudent to budget for a fall 2022 scenario of an 8.9% decrease in undergraduate FTES. This should ideally be coupled with strategies aimed at increasing spring 2023 enrollment relative to spring 2022, such as increasing new-student numbers, retention efforts and increasing credit-hour loads to previous levels. 

Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, noted that the University has contracted with Collegiate Admissions and Retention Systems for a calling campaign that will contact several thousand admitted students who have not yet completed orientation and several thousand continuing students in hopes of increasing retention. However, Simpkins added that nationally, the only institutions that are experiencing enrollment growth or stabilization are four-year selective colleges and universities. Growth among community colleges can largely be attributed to concurrent enrollment. 

FY23 budget 

After consistent enrollment declines beginning after the University’s peak credit-hour production of 533,681 in 2010-11, MSU Denver anticipates a 2022-23 credit-hour production of 333,577 — marking a loss of approximately $25 million in potential revenue. While increased state investment has helped cushion the University, this project will likely force some difficult budget decisions, according to George Middlemist, Ph.D., MSU Denver chief financial officer. 

Currently, a $10.2 million investment from the state, balanced against the anticipated decrease in tuition revenue, would ameliorate the reduction in new revenue to roughly $2.4 million. Mandatory cost increases and investments in Phase I enrollment- and retention-driving programs and initiatives would result in a $2.7 million budget shortfall. Investing in compensation and Stuff That Works would add more than $5.7 million to the shortfall, for a total budget shortfall of $8.4 million. 


Middlemist estimates that reserves will cover most one-time requests and that approximately $6 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund remains available for allocation. Middlemist added that the University isn’t necessarily in a bad fiscal situation but that it is in a difficult base-budget situation and that the institution is still spending conservatively.  

Decision Items  

Members continued to express a strong commitment to increasing compensation. Members have explored a 3% across-the-board increase (totaling approximately $4.2 million) for professional faculty and staff members, a base increase and percentage increases based on salary level. 

Members also discussed how strategic cuts and changes to one-time requests might be made to reallocate funds to enrollment effort and compensation. Members also discussed postponing the compensation vote and salary increases until there is a better understanding of those potential cuts and changes to one-time requests. Recommendations were due Monday, and the budget team is crafting a decision memo for President Janine Davidson, Ph.D.