Final fall enrollment numbers from Minot State University show that enrollment is down from the fall of 2013. The official number is 3,533, a decrease of 27 students, according to a press release issued by the university.
Areas that showed decreases included Ward, Renville, Rolette, Burleigh and Bottineau counties. Overall, enrollment by North Dakota students at Minot State University was down 6 percent.
"Breaking down our official fall enrollment reveals that our recruiting challenges reflect the realities of our economy in regards to the cost of living, housing and the availability of high paying jobs in western North Dakota," said David Fuller, MSU president, in the press release. "We are pleased with our efforts to attract students from Canada, Minnesota and other states; however our greatest challenge is keeping students from areas closer to home, such as Ward County."
Anticipating continued declines in enrollments from outlying counties in western North Dakota, MSU is taking steps to recruit new students from other areas, as well as retain current students.
"I find these enrollment figures to be encouraging," Fuller said. "Our new student population shows improvement, which indicates that many of our initiatives are succeeding in key areas where we have focused our attention."
Bright spots included steady freshmen numbers and strong numbers in graduate enrollment, non-Canadian international students, new transfer students and distance education.
Enrollment at Minot Air Force Base increased by 20 percent; Fargo, where MSU collaborates with North Dakota State University, 46.5 percent; and 6.6 percent online. The number of international students increased to 133, up 11 percent compared to official numbers from last year.
States that continue to show strong numbers include Minnesota, Montana, California and Florida.