Jul 012008
 
Authors: Jacob Whitsitt

With nearly two months gone by the wayside for summer session 2008, enrollment at CSU this summer is down by about 200 students, or five percent, compared to 2007.

However, university officials said this number is not final until July 16, which is the last add/drop date for the summer session.

About 6,000 students are currently enrolled in summer courses,which is a five percent decrease from last year’s number of 6,264, said Barbara Gotshall, the director of Summer Session.

The downward trend started in the summer of 2003 when the university had an enrollment figure of 7,558 students. Since then, the number has continued to drop by about five percent each year.

Alan Lamborn, the vice provost for Undergraduate Affairs, attributed the decline in numbers to increasing popularity in online classes driving away students enrolled on campus.

“Part of that appears to be a number of students who prefer to take online courses,” he said.

Some peer institutions are also seeing slight decreases in their numbers, while others report higher numbers from last year Gotshall said.

“Some universities are seeing growth and others are down,” she said. “Public land grant institutions that are similar in size and programs to CSU are also experiencing small declines in their campus summer courses.”

Despite the decline in enrollment in the summer, the university expects to make significant progress toward its current stretch goal for a fall enrollment of 25,000 students by 2012.

The university expects to see an increase from last year’s population of 20,765 undergraduate students to about 21,154, said Robin Brown, the vice president of Enrollment and Access. While many people might want to see more rapid progress, Dr. Brown says the stretch goal was never meant to be met in the short term.

“The goal of 25,000 is a stretch goal with a multi-year plan to meet that goal,” she said. “It was never meant to be achieved in a short time period.”

The university instituted the stretch goals last year with the intention of implementing a five-year plan to reach those targets. According to Brown, the goals are not just for show.

“The Board [of Governors] does recognize these as stretch goals, and I believe we are being held accountable to make steady progress towards those goals, even if it takes us longer to actually meet them,” she said.

While progress has been made toward the goal since last year, Brown warns that funding will need to be available for the target to become a reality.

Staff writer Jacob Whitsitt can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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