DSU enrollment down by about 500 this fallDickinson State University has lost about 500 students since last fall, according to preliminary enrollment reports released Wednesday. There was a drop of about 200 students in the international program.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson State University has lost about 500 students since last fall, according to preliminary enrollment reports released Wednesday. There was a drop of about 200 students in the international program.
Last fall there were 2,346 students enrolled at DSU; this year there are 1,837. In the international program there are 148 students this fall, compared with 352 last year.
The numbers have been submitted to the North Dakota University System, but have not been approved, said Marie Moe, executive director of Enrollment Services and Communications.
The final DSU enrollment numbers will be posted on the NDUS website in the coming weeks, said Linda Donlin, director of Communications and Media Relations.
“Dickinson State University has made a commitment to doing the right things every day and at this point in our culture that’s what’s important,” said DSU President D.C. Coston. “It’s not about an absolute number, it’s about as an institution that we have determined that we’re going to provide each student with an education that’s as good as that student could get anywhere.”
Beginning last fall, there have been a few controversies with enrollment at DSU. It was found that those attending conferences were being enrolled as students and there were issues with international student and degrees.
The decrease in enrolled international students is responsible for 40 percent of the total drop.
“I really think that the downturn is reflected by … students in the international program and we’re kind of right-sizing in terms of where we probably should be,” former Vice President of Academic Affairs Rich Brauhn said.
The drop in international students has brought numbers into a target of 8 percent to 10 percent of the total student population, Coston said.
A student body of 1,800-plus is not something to scoff at, Brauhn said.
“People projected … when the (2000) census came out that DSU would literally drop down to about 800 students and kind of wither and blow away in the dust, and we proved them wrong in that sense,” he said.
A smaller enrollment number has eased up a strained residential life system.
“We do not have any students living in triples this year,” Coston said. “Students are well taken care of and their experiences in the residence halls are very positive.”
The oil boom could also be affecting enrollment numbers, but there has not been a study confirming to what extent, he said.
“We know there’s an impact but we have no data to tell us what that might be,” Coston said. “You know that certainly there’s a very strong temptation for some folks of that age.”
Both Bismarck State College and Minot State University show decreases in enrollment, according to press releases from the institutions. DSU is the smallest of the four-year universities in the western-half of the state.
So far this school year there has been a sense of optimism around DSU, Moe said.
“I really believe that the students that are here are prepared to be here and that they’re set up to be successful this year,” she said.
The faculty has been pleased with the students in the first weeks of the academic year, Coston said.
“They feel a real renewed sense of excitement on the part of the students and that the faculty are responding to that and some wonderful learning (is) occurring within DSU this fall.”