Author Topic: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1  (Read 7668 times)

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Offline pmp6nl

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From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« on: December 20, 2007, 02:50:57 pm »
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Throughout North Dakota's history, UND always has been the largest higher education institution in the state. Until recently, it has been the largest by a significant number.

But, North Dakota State University has been aggressively increasing its enrollment to the point where this fall, NDSU enrolled only 32 fewer students than UND. By comparison, UND's headcount enrollment in fall 2000 was 1,137 students greater than NDSU's.

Now, the North Dakota University System has released its official report of 2007 fall enrollment. This report provides details that help us better understand what the future portends for the bragging rights of the largest school.

And we need to remember that may be all this is really about: bragging rights. Each school, if it is addressing the needs of the students, is doing what is right; and enrollment will fall where it may.

The report's first detail is that the number of high school graduates in North Dakota is in a precipitous decline. This is occurring for a number of reasons. For one, there are simply fewer families in their childbearing years. Also, most families are choosing to have fewer children.

North Dakota high school graduates are the largest pool of enrollees for all of our schools of higher education. The decline means each school must try to attract more out-of-state students. It also means that the competition among colleges for the high school graduates becomes more intense.

I intend to write a column showing what NDSU and UND have done to attract resident and out-of-state students. I also will discuss how each school's enrollment policies may have affected their reputations among North Dakota graduates. I hope to have the information I need soon.

Given the schools' past performance and current enrollments, I believe that as early as spring 2008, and certainly no later than fall 2008, NDSU will pass UND in enrollment.

I base that conclusion on two important details in current enrollment.

-- This fall, UND had 3,204 seniors compared to NDSU's 2,864 seniors. Depending on when those students graduate, UND potentially will lose as many as 340 more students than NDSU.

With only a 32-student gap, my conclusion seems obvious.

-- Furthermore, the enrollment of freshmen at UND in the current fall semester was 2,463; for NDSU, it was 3,114. NDSU also has enrolled more freshmen than UND for the past few years. I know of no reason why that will not happen again next fall.

UND has a program that favors accepting better-prepared students in order to address the serious problem of students who never complete a degree. That has resulted in a decrease in the number of freshman enrolling at UND.

That problem exists throughout the system. Recognizing that the North Dakota taxpayers subsidize more than 40 percent of the cost of an undergraduate education, the taxpayers should be happy to see UND is trying to address the problem.

On the other hand, when UND raised its minimum ACT test score as part of addressing this problem, a North Dakota taxpayer told me that he had paid taxes all his life, and his kids have a right to flunk out of college.

The undergraduate enrollment at UND also has been hurt by problems in the airline industry. The school of aviation has, during the past decade or more, been the single biggest factor driving UND's enrollment higher, particularly among out-of-state students.

I do not think the airline problem will reverse by next fall. In fact, I expect it to be an even more serious problem.

Recently, a UND official said the administration is not satisfied with the university's enrollment. They probably will make some changes, but I do not believe those changes can come quick enough. And so, I expect that next fall, when all the dust has cleared, NDSU will be the largest North Dakota university by as many as 500 students - certainly not fewer than 275.

UND's drop to No. 2 probably isn't that important to some. But, from an economic standpoint, declining enrollment is. Grand Forks has been hurt by the declining size of Grand Forks Air Force Base. It needs to be very concerned about an actual decline in the number of students at UND.

Contact Kingsbury at kae@invisimax.com">kae@invisimax.com or (701) 738-0028.

http://www.grandforksherald.com/articles/index.cfm?id=60812&freebie_check&CFID=76199710&CFTOKEN=18042638&jsessionid=883027c9a1d243657645
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2007, 02:51:43 pm »
Sounds like a lot of excuse making.

...I hope I didnt just start a war ;)
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2007, 06:48:48 pm »
Not that I care a whole lot about which school has more students, there are some interesting parts of this article:
Quote
UND has a program that favors accepting better-prepared students in order to address the serious problem of students who never complete a degree.
I have to chalk this up partially to professors who are more interested in their own research than in engaging students, and to students who think that "just showing up" will earn them a degree.  Thank God the latter isn't true yet.

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-- This fall, UND had 3,204 seniors compared to NDSU's 2,864 seniors. Depending on when those students graduate, UND potentially will lose as many as 340 more students than NDSU.

1.  This shows that UND has, at present, more students who are completing degrees (supposing these seniors actually graduate).  Take from that what you will.
2.  "Depending on when those students graduate . . ."  This phrase irks me because it speaks to an underlying problem within the state (and maybe in public universities as a whole, but I haven't looked into that):  Why are students not expected to graduate in 4 years?  Most other 4-year universities in the country are just that: 4-year universities.  Yet here at UND we have "Seniors" who are here for 5 or 6 or 7 years--why is this?  It costs more to stay in school that long.

Maybe the answer is here:
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On the other hand, when UND raised its minimum ACT test score as part of addressing this problem, a North Dakota taxpayer told me that he had paid taxes all his life, and his kids have a right to flunk out of college.
I wonder how prevalent this view is.  I'm inclined to disbelieve that most people think this way.  Why did UND raise the ACT score rather than eliminating it and focusing on selecting a greater variety of students based on activities and interests instead of how well they can do on a standardized test?  This is another nationwide trend that UND seems to be missing out on.

Quote
UND's drop to No. 2 probably isn't that important to some. But, from an economic standpoint, declining enrollment is. Grand Forks has been hurt by the declining size of Grand Forks Air Force Base. It needs to be very concerned about an actual decline in the number of students at UND.
I don't think Grand Forks has a lot to worry about, but if someone actually takes this column seriously, I hope they look at working with the University to increase the number of entertainment and cultural options in the town.

So why was this article written?  I'm not quite sure.  I hope that the author is trying to improve the quality of life in Grand Forks, because if UND doesn't improve its educational offerings, Grand Forks alone is not a great draw for students.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2007, 11:50:31 pm »
I too am trying to figure out why it was written.  Personally I do not care about which school is bigger, though I suppose many care because its the only rivalry left.  As I have said many times, this state and university system have way more important things to worry about.

Quote
This fall, UND had 3,204 seniors compared to NDSU's 2,864 seniors. Depending on when those students graduate, UND potentially will lose as many as 340 more students than NDSU.

Wouldn't the differences be attributed to the fact that NDSU has been growing in large numbers.  IE: the growth is at the freshman, sophomore, and graduate levels... the first two havent made it to their senior year yet.
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Offline red hibiscus

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2007, 12:16:03 am »
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-- This fall, UND had 3,204 seniors compared to NDSU's 2,864 seniors. Depending on when those students graduate, UND potentially will lose as many as 340 more students than NDSU.

2.  "Depending on when those students graduate . . ."  This phrase irks me because it speaks to an underlying problem within the state (and maybe in public universities as a whole, but I haven't looked into that):  Why are students not expected to graduate in 4 years?  Most other 4-year universities in the country are just that: 4-year universities.  Yet here at UND we have "Seniors" who are here for 5 or 6 or 7 years--why is this?  It costs more to stay in school that long.

It could be a public university thing... I knew quite a few people who were on the "5-year + plan" when I was an undergrad (not at UND). I remember some people took longer because they didn't decide on their major right away, and others took longer because they wasted their first year or two on "extracurricular activities." I can maybe understand 5 years, but I don't get being a 6 or 7th year senior, though. That's a little ridiculous.

Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2007, 12:27:39 am »
5 is reasonable, 6 or 7... give me a break (unless you are puropsely going part time or something)
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 11:12:17 am »
I can say that after the four colleges I've been in in Florida and here, not many people have 4 year degrees anymore.  It's almost always a semester or year longer.

Well, a LOT more than years ago.
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2008, 12:09:23 pm »
If you don't mind my asking, which colleges?  Better, were they public or private?
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2008, 01:29:40 pm »
All public, all state universities, three in florida.
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2008, 01:30:30 pm »
It's probably more males than females, since the entirety of our educational system from K-12 up is geared towards women.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 12:26:03 am »
It's probably more males than females, since the entirety of our educational system from K-12 up is geared towards women.

and its leaving men behind... a growing problem
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 02:21:33 am »
Those damned LIEberals.



;)
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 09:12:06 am »
I hadn't heard about this--do you two have any sources I can read up?
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 10:16:38 am »
Sources?  LIEberals!
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2008, 08:21:27 pm »
Those damned LIEberals.



;)

Now now.

...mburtonk I remember reading a few articles about this a few years ago, I will see if I can find anything.
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 02:28:57 am »
LIE berals.

LIE.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2008, 02:52:33 am »
LIE berals.

LIE.

DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

Yes, I was just questioning the accuracy of it. ... Sounds like an over generalization.
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2008, 03:12:16 am »
LIE            berals.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2008, 03:20:45 am »
I take it you are on the other side of the fence?
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Offline JakeJZG

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2008, 04:02:26 am »
I'm a fiscal conservative and a social classical liberal/jeffersonian.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2008, 04:04:49 pm »
I'm a fiscal conservative and a social classical liberal/jeffersonian.

A liberal... oh my
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2008, 04:27:20 pm »
Classical Liberal.  That means reverse of now-Liberal.
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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2008, 09:52:33 am »
This was supposedly in the GF Herald on Friday.  I'm no quite sure what this person's motivation is--for UND to have a lot of students for the sake of a lot of students?  First he says that you can have a school with the capacity for more students but choose not to (example Harvard), then he says that we need more students to build ourselves up to capacity.  I'm not sure what the big deal is with 1.2 percent in a year.  Yes, the question can be asked "Why did enrollment drop?", but I don't think the immediate answer is "We have to increase enrollment or the world is going to end!" 

This guy is worried about cutbacks happening because of a drop in enrollment.  I can see that, but I can also see that it's the state's job to provide the service of the University.  Nobody forced them into getting into the state university game, but now that their in, they have to keep providing those services to the students who wish to get an education (as well as those students who are here to get a diploma).  The author doesn't mention the Division I shift.  If you take the money that will be going toward that and put it toward, I don't know, EDUCATING THE STUDENTS, we might not be in a situation where we need worry about a piddling 1.2 percent drop in enrollment.



Quote
Enrollment isn't the only measure of UND. But it's a measure, and the downward trends at the university must be reversed.

Why? Because North Dakota State University's enrollment has passed or is very likely to pass UND's?

No. Bragging rights aren't the issue here. Programming is the issue: UND has the buildings and faculty to accommodate more students. But the numbers keep going down instead of up, and the lost revenue from three years of enrollment declines may take its toll on UND's next annual budget, to quote Herald staff writer Joseph Marks' Dec. 15 story (Enrollment drop may lead to belt tightening, Page 1A).

That - not NDSU's growth - is the really troubling news.

UND should gear up to make sure the decline is reversed.

Colleges and universities are funny things: not businesses, not charities, not hospitals. . . . So, traditional measures of organizational health don't always apply.

Consider enrollment - specifically, growing enrollment. Businesses always want more customers, so colleges always want more students. Right?

Wrong. Harvard University and other selective schools could triple their enrollments, but they choose not to. Instead, they keep enrollments stable at what they consider to be an optimum size, and grow their endowments instead.

Harvard now has so much money per student that undergraduates whose families make less than $60,000 a year can attend almost for free.

In fact, there are colleges that have grown too fast, some higher-education analysts say. When enrollment growth outruns revenue and endowment growth, students can wind up in crowded and shabby facilities - and that school's reputation will suffer over time.

In UND's case, the university could accommodate up to about 15,000 students, including 12,500 on campus and 2,500 through distance learning, administrators have said in the past.

One of President Charles Kupchella's early goals was to have 14,000 students enrolled by 2005. That always seemed about right: Enough to take full advantage of the campus and its facilities, but not so much that classrooms would feel jammed.

If enrollment had reached 14,000 and stabilized, UND then could have chosen either to build more buildings and grow even more, or hold firm on the numbers and pull in more dollars per student. Those are the choices a university likes to make.

But enrollment never reached 14,000. Instead, it hit about 13,200; and rather than steadying out at that point, it started to slip. The first-day spring enrollment now stands at 11,141, a 1.4 percent drop compared to this time last year.

UND officials are keenly aware of these trends and are working hard to reverse them. That work should continue and be made an even higher priority, if possible. Enrollments do fluctuate and occasional dips must be expected. But when those dips reach the point that administrators start fretting about cutbacks, then the time for explanations has passed and the time for strong action has come.

The finalists to be UND's next president will be visiting campus this month; the first - Robert Kelley, dean of health sciences at the University of Wyoming - makes his first public appearances today.

The need to grow UND's enrollment should be a core topic of the interviews as the search committee continues its work.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Re: From the Grand Forks Hearld: VIEWPOINT: We're no longer No. 1
« Reply #23 on: January 14, 2008, 10:34:31 pm »
It is a tough issue to approach, especially figuring out why it happened and what to do about it.
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