U of M, Crookston Sees Second Year of Record Undergraduate Enrollment; Residence Halls at Capacity

CROOKSTON, Minn. (October 8, 2009) - The University of Minnesota, Crookston continues on a growth trajectory.  The 2009-2010 academic year marks the second consecutive year the campus has seen record undergraduate enrollment.  As a reflection of that enrollment growth, campus residence halls, including a new apartment-style complex, are at capacity.

According to official enrollment data, the number of degree-seeking students attending the Crookston campus is reported at 1,310 for fall semester 2009.  That number bests last year's historic high mark for undergraduate enrollment and signifies an increase of 8.5% over fall 2008.  It also marks the third consecutive year the Crookston campus has recorded an undergraduate enrollment increase.  The number of degree-seeking students was 1,207 for fall semester 2008 and 1,142 for fall semester 2007.  Total enrollment for the Crookston campus has seen an increase of 3.6 percent, from 2,199 last year to 2,279 this year.

The number of students taking online courses continues to grow as more degree programs are offered entirely online and as more students--the majority of whom are already in the workforce--discover the benefits of online study and the prestige of a University of Minnesota degree.  The number of new online-only students, 107 this fall, has more than doubled as compared to fall of 2008, and online credit hours have increased by 30% percent for fall semester 2009 compared to fall 2008.

Again this year the profile of incoming students reflects improved academic preparation.  For the incoming freshman class, average ACT composite scores increased to 21.8 this year from 21.5 in 2008

This year's student body is also the most diverse in the history of the campus.  Of the 1,310 undergraduates, 99 international students representing 25 countries of origin account for 7.6% of the total, and 149 students of color represent 11% of the total.  

The number of students living on campus is also at a record high.  According to the Office of Residential Life, 563 students currently live in campus residence halls and apartments.  The newly-opened 128-bed apartment-style residence hall, Evergreen Hall, has helped address the demand for campus housing, and it is full, as are three other campus residence halls.  Gary Willhite, director of residential life and security services, said, "There has been increasing demand for campus housing over the past few years.  The fact that return rates for students choosing campus housing are higher than ever not only tells me students are satisfied with their experience here but also reinforces the concept that campus living directly helps retention."

In addition to improved facilities and expanded recruitment efforts, the U of M, Crookston has made strategic choices in widening its academic offerings.  This fall, the first students in a new criminal justice program arrived on campus, and the U of M Board of Regents recently approved two new bachelor's degree programs: marketing and quality management.  Coursework for those two programs--available both on campus as well as entirely online--is set to begin in January 2010.

Growth and change are nothing new to the Crookston campus, as it has seen a significant transformation over the past 16 years since becoming a baccalaureate-level university in the fall of 1993.  At the helm since 2005, Chancellor Charles H. Casey credits the dedication and hard work of the faculty and staff for where the campus is today.  "Students who choose the U of M, Crookston recognize the value of the friendly, personalized atmosphere and of the leadership opportunities provided by our exceptional faculty and staff," Casey said.  "More and more often we hear from students how they recognize the brand name value of a University of Minnesota degree and the quality it represents.  They also seem to understand how the day-to-day use of technology can help them achieve their career goals."  

The U of M, Crookston uses the phrase "Small Campus. Big Degree." when marketing the campus.  That phrase seems to resonate with students.  In a survey of this fall's incoming class, over 72% of those responding cited the size of the campus as the primary reason they chose to attend.  In the survey, which allowed respondents to select numerous reasons, 64% listed the type of academic programs offered as a top reason, 41% cited the U of M, Crookston's use of laptop computers and related technology for all students, and 35% acknowledged academic reputation.  Cost, availability of scholarships and financial aid, and the prestige and recognition of attending the University of Minnesota rounded out the list of top reasons student gave for choosing the Crookston campus.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs, and welcomes students from more than 20 countries and 35 states.  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

Contact: Andrew Svec, director of communications, 218-281-8438 (asvec@umn.edu) Robert Nelson, registrar, 218-281-8560 (nelson@umn.edu) Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)