Enrollment was down 2.5 percent on the first day of classes Monday at Minot State University, compared to the fall of 2011, which experienced a 6 percent drop in enrollment from the fall of 2010.
The student count is at 3,376. Enrollment figures won't be official until after the fourth week of classes.
"While these numbers are disappointing, we were told to expect this for at least three years," said MSU President David Fuller in a press release, referring to UND's cautionary advice based on its enrollment decline after the 1997 Red River Flood. "Understanding the housing market and energy industry in our area, we predicted we would be down. This is not surprising."
Andrea Johnson/MDN • Students walk to class Wednesday afternoon at Minot State University. Enrollment is down 2.5 percent from last fall.
Enrollment declines were most prevalent in new freshmen and graduate, Minot Air Force Base and Native American students. Overall, Canadian students showed a slight decline.
Ward County showed a total decrease of 6.2 percent. Other counties showing decreased enrollment trends include many in oil patch country, such as Divide, Williams and Mountrail.
Athletic initiatives and Grow North Dakota efforts have fostered growth in student populations from exterior states such as Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Minnesota. Neighboring states South Dakota and Montana remain consistent. Grow North Dakota is an MSU endeavor to recruit out-of-state and international students by charging a flat tuition rate.
North Dakota counties that show enrollment increases include Burke, Cass, Grand Forks and Stark.
"These numbers indicate we are doing a good job of recruiting outside of our area, and that the message of Minot State University being a solid institution with fine academic programs is making inroads," Fuller said. "However, ongoing flood recovery efforts and housing continues to have a major impact on us."
Official enrollment count is submitted to the North Dakota University System after the fourth week of classes.