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U of M, Crookston Hits Record Undergraduate Enrollment, Number of Degree-Seeking Students Jumps More Than Five Percent
October 16, 2008

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


CROOKSTON, Minn. (October 16, 2008) – The 2008-09 academic year represents a milestone for the University of Minnesota, Crookston.  As the campus begins its fifteenth year as a baccalaureate degree granting institution, fall enrollment for degree-seeking students has hit a record high. 

According to official enrollment data, the number of degree-seeking students is reported at 1,207 for fall semester 2008.  That number marks the highest undergraduate enrollment in the history of the campus and signifies an increase of more than 5% over fall 2007.  It also marks the second consecutive year the Crookston campus has recorded an enrollment increase.  The number of degree-seeking students was 1,142 for fall semester 2007. 

A ground breaking was held on Wed., Oct. 15 on a new residence hall on the Crookston campus to house the increasing enrollment.
A ground breaking was held on Wed., Oct. 15, 2008, for a new residence hall on the Crookston campus to house the increasing student enrollment.
Of the 1,207 degree-seeking students enrolled for fall 2008, 276 are classified as new entering freshmen, an increase of more than 14% over freshman numbers for 2007. The number of students taking online courses also continues steady growth. Online credit hours have increased by 30% percent for fall semester 2008 compared to fall 2007.

Not only has the number of students increased, but the profile of new freshmen also reflects improved academic preparation.  The average ACT score of the incoming class is up nearly one whole point, and the average high school rank percentile is up nearly 5 points as compared to those of 2007’s incoming class.  The percentage in the top 25 percent of their high school class also increased significantly from 23.1 percent last year to 33 percent this year.

U of M, Crookston Chancellor Charles H. Casey believes the campus has come into its own after several years of planning and improvements intended to enhance the student experience.  “We believe we are seeing the results of our strategic efforts to provide an exceptional experience,” Casey said.  “We offer students the personal attention of a small campus with the opportunity to earn a world-class University of Minnesota degree, and that approach—supplemented with our commitment to infusing technology, applied learning and global perspectives into our curriculum—resonates with students and their families.” 

Students seem to agree.  Surveys of incoming new students this fall show that over 64% cited the size of the campus as the main reason they chose to attend the Crookston campus.  Fifty-four percent (54%) of those surveyed also cited the type of academic programs offered as a top reason they chose to attend, and 28% indicated academic reputation as a reason.  Cost, availability of scholarships and financial aid, and use of technology rounded out the list.

In addition to improved facilities and expanded recruitment efforts, the U of M, Crookston has made strategic choices in widening its academic offerings.  In the past year, the campus has launched new degree programs in organizational psychology and criminal justice.

New program emphases in urban forestry and in bio-fuels and renewable energy technology further build on strengths and augment existing academic offerings.  The early childhood education program also earned approval from the Minnesota Board of Teaching to administer licensure for teachers of children up to age eight. These enhanced programs join relatively new degree programs in biology and communication and a pre-professional degree option in veterinary medicine in both equine science and animal science to provide students the widest degree program selection ever offered on the Crookston campus. 

Over the past six months the Crookston campus has also hired twelve new full-time faculty members as well as several new staff persons through a combination of hiring for new positions, filling positions that had been unfilled, and replacing retiring faculty.  “This is the largest single infusion of new talent in many years,” said Casey, “and it further strengthens our exceptional faculty and staff while adding capacity to our programs.  We are excited to see what we can accomplish with the momentum we’ve gained.”

The University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs, including online degrees, and 50 concentrations in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources.  To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.