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Bryan Horwath, Forum News Service, Published October 01 2013

Dickinson State enrollment drops nearly 42 percent in three years

DICKINSON, N.D. - Official Dickinson State University fall semester 2013 enrollment numbers paint the picture of a student body that has declined by nearly 42 percent in just three years.

With the fourth week of fall semester classes in the books, DSU is reporting a slight increase in total enrollment numbers from initial data released in August. But the numbers reveal a large decline in students from the fall of 2010, when DSU reported a total enrollment of 2,482.

Following the school’s deadline for reporting official fall semester numbers late last week, DSU officials tallied a total enrollment of 1,449 students, an increase of 107 students from the first week of school in August, according to an email sent from DSU spokeswoman Marie Moe.

According to the final DSU fall census report, the school has 1,018 full-time students and 431 part-time students, meaning 30 percent of the school’s total enrollment is made up of students who take fewer than 12 credits per semester.

There are 107 international students — including Canadians — and 131 students are considered dual credit, classified as high school students earning college credits.

A total of 403 students are tagged as freshman who have completed fewer than 24 credit hours, with 165 of those listed as “first-time” freshmen.

The official 2013 fall total enrollment number represents a 21 percent decrease from DSU’s 2012 fall census sum of 1,837 students.

“DSU isn’t as crowded as it was in the previous decade,” DSU College of Arts & Sciences Dean Ken Haught said in a statement. “But due to higher admission standards, we have a dynamic student body that is better prepared to succeed than ever before. There is a can-do spirit on campus.”

A longtime employee at DSU, Haught said the collective campus attitude has been positive lately as the school continues to move forward.

“I see faculty and staff who are committed to providing the best learning environments and student support services possible,” Haught stated. “I see students that are focused on their academics and engaged in the campus community. I’ve been here 20 years and the campus is as vibrant as I can remember.”

In late 2012, an enrollment scandal at DSU became public, leading to the eventual firing of former university President Richard McCallum. DSU is currently classified as an “on notice” institution by the Higher Learning Commission and is awaiting an HLC decision on its status, which is expected next month.