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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published August 25 2011

Numbers at MSUM down; officials focus on freshmen

MOORHEAD – Enrollment at Minnesota State University Moorhead is down slightly this fall as a result of a change in admissions criteria.

MSUM officials tripled the number of students they declined to admit this fall, from 94 students last year to 297 students this fall, said Diane Solinger, vice president for enrollment management.

“We really focused on shaping our freshman class this year,” Solinger said. “That was very intentional to really admit students we felt would be successful and doing well in their classes.”

MSUM’s preliminary enrollment is 7,145 students, down about 0.8 percent from last year’s enrollment at this time of 7,204 students.

The official enrollment will be tallied after the 30th day of classes.

Preliminary numbers show a freshman class of 1,131 students, an 8 percent decrease from this time last year.

A committee reviewed students’ ACT scores and grade point averages to determine if the students were college-ready, Solinger said.

Students who didn’t meet MSUM’s criteria were referred to community colleges. Students had the opportunity to appeal and some were admitted if they had special circumstances, she said.

The average ACT score for MSUM freshmen increased from 21.92 last year to 22.14 this year, Solinger said.

In the long term, MSUM expects to increase its enrollment by boosting retention of students, she said.

Some students may enroll at MSUM in a semester or a year if they show they have been successful at a community college, Solinger said.

At the Moorhead campus of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, preliminary enrollment is 3,755 students, a 3.8 percent increase over last year’s count of 3,618.

Space is at a premium on campus as an addition with 10 new classrooms is being completed for the spring semester.

“It’s tight like it always is, which is a good problem,” said Shawn Anderson, dean of student services for the Moorhead campus and interim registrar for the college.

The entire college, which includes campuses in Moorhead, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Wadena and online students, reported a preliminary enrollment of 6,146. That’s an increase of about 0.6 percent over last year’s count at this time of 6,107.

Final enrollment numbers will be reported after the 30th day of classes.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590