Fall enrollment at Bemidji State University up nearly five percent

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State University has experienced a three percent enrollment growth in new freshmen, and overall enrollment for 2008 is expected to increase by nearly five percent.

The figures show 5,017 students enrolled at Bemidji State University on the 20th day of classes during the fall semester. It is the largest 20th-day enrollment number at Bemidji State since 2003, when 5,019 students were registered on the 20th day of classes, and just the second time since 1998 the University has had a head count of above 5,000 at this point in the fall.

BSU’s enrollment number could fluctuate throughout the fall as students enroll for distance learning options.

“We are committed to ensuring Bemidji State is accessible to Minnesotans, and our enrollment numbers suggest that we’re succeeding,” BSU President Dr. Jon E. Quistgaard said. “Increasing numbers of high school students are accessing our courses through post-secondary options, our freshmen enrollment continues to grow, an increasing number of transfer students are choosing BSU to meet their higher education goals and the number of students accessing Bemidji State through our online course continues on an upward trajectory.

“This year’s enrollment figures reflect, in part, our focus on recruiting and retaining students,” Quistgaard said. “Those efforts are having an impact.”

Spearheading BSU’s growth for 2008 was another increase in first-time freshman students. BSU has 778 new freshmen enrolled, an increase of 26 students, 3.46 percent growth, over the 2007 number of 752. Since 2006, BSU’s freshman enrollment has increased by nearly 20 percent.

Other notable increases were seen in the number of undergraduate transfers, with 407 – an 8.82-percent increase over last year’s count of 374, and returning undergraduates, with 2,972 – a 1.47-percent increase over 2007’s count of 2,929.

BSU also continues to see rapid growth in its extended learning programs, seeing a 26-percent enrollment growth. 1,770 students are enrolled in extended learning programs on the 20th day of Fall 2008 classes, up from 1,402 at the same point last year.

Bemidji State’s 20th-day enrollment count is up in part because concurrent enrollment numbers were available earlier than they were in Fall 2007. This year, 156 concurrent enrollment students were included in the 20th day headcount; in 2007, concurrent enrollment numbers were not available until October.

While headcount enrollment is up, credit generation – which plays a more critical role in the University’s budget – remains relatively flat as compared to 2007. While more students are enrolled at the University, the number of credits they are enrolled in has increased by less than one percent over the same point a year ago.

Bemidji State has traditionally used the 20th day of classes – which for Fall 2008 fell on Monday, Sept. 22 – as its date for announcing enrollment figures in order to allow sufficient time for students to drop or add courses and to pay tuition. Headcount reflects an unduplicated number of students enrolled in credit-generating courses on campus and through external study areas such as distance learning.