NUMBERS NOT SURPRISING Minot State University officials knew enrollment would be down this year, as the university and the city continue to recover from the flood of 2011. MSU's first-day enrollment was 3,376 students, a decrease of 2.5 percent from 2011, a year that saw a drop of roughly 6 percent from 2010. MSU President David Fuller said while the number weren't surprising, they were nonetheless disappointing. Still, there are positive signs for MSU going forward. Recruitment efforts continue to produce good numbers of out-of-state students as well as students from other North Dakota counties. Enrollment declines were evident in counties such as Ward, Divide, Williams and Mountrail, all in the area of the booming oil industry. There were also declining numbers of new freshmen, as well as Canadian, graduate, Minot Air Force Base and Native American students. Fuller said he was advised by officials from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to expect enrollment declines for at least three years because of the flood, something UND experienced after the 1997 flood. But UND has rebounded strongly from those initial declining years, and we expect Minot State to do the same thing. But getting through the initial years of decline will present ongoing challenges for MSU and its leaders.
FEMA HOUSING DEADLINE TO BE EXTENDED It's not a done deal yet, but Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate has said the agency will extend the housing mission deadline in Minot until June 2013. That means displaced residents living in temporary FEMA?housing won't have to leave those units on Dec. 24 of this year, as originally scheduled. A formal FEMA announcement is expected soon. That's good news for residents who are still in the process of recovering from the 2011 flood, and need a bit more time to find permanent, and affordable, housing in the Minot area.