Sep 7th, 2010 @ 1:26 pm | Author: Dr. Steve Shirley, VCSU President
The Fall 2010 Semester at Valley City State University is now underway, and the campus is alive with the return of students and faculty. It has been a remarkable start to the new academic year at VCSU. Student enrollments are up significantly, and I want to share a few more details about the numbers so you have a better understanding of the full enrollment picture.

The beginning freshmen enrollment on the first day of classes was 223 students, representing the largest incoming class of new freshmen since 1988. The average size of our freshmen class during each of the past ten years has been 168 students. Therefore, the 2010 class is not only the largest in nearly 25 years, but it is also 33% larger than the average size of the past decade. Within this large freshmen class, we also have a higher percentage of North Dakotans. Last year, 57% of our freshmen were from North Dakota, and this fall 66% of VCSU freshmen are North Dakota natives. In addition, we have students from 30 of North Dakota's 53 counties in the freshmen class, demonstrating the wide area from which VCSU attracts new students.

This large class also means there are more students living in the residence halls on the VCSU campus. As of the first week of classes, there were 332 students in VCSU residence halls, including a few in a local hotel. This represents a 10% increase over last year and nearly 50 more residential students this fall compared to just two years ago. The 332 students in the residence halls are the most at VCSU since 2000. This fall's residential population would have been even larger, but older students were encouraged to find other housing arrangements since Snoeyenbos Hall is closed for major renovations during 2010-11.

As of the second week of classes, the overall institutional headcount enrollment at VCSU was 1234 students. This is an increase of 200 students (nearly 20%) over last year, and the largest fall enrollment since 1970. Total enrollment includes students from 46 North Dakota counties, and 62% of all VCSU students are North Dakota natives. Among the non-North Dakotans, VCSU currently has students from 42 states, four Canadian provinces, 11 countries, and Puerto Rico.

Headcount enrollment represents every student who is enrolled in at least one credit through the University, and it is the figure most commonly reported in the media. Unlike the comparison of new freshmen enrollment to past years, the overall headcount figure is a bit more difficult to compare to a long-term trend. The reason is simple: the educational environment at VCSU has changed over the past thirty years, and the technologies used to deliver this education have changed (dramatically!). VCSU now has graduate students; students learning at a distance; collaborative students shared through partnerships with other campuses; and students taking courses via the Internet and Interactive Video Network (IVN). All of these advancements still translate to students taking courses from VCSU, but the reality is that some of these students may be living in a location outside Valley City.

The Fall 2010 enrollment at VCSU is great news for Valley City and the surrounding region. We look forward to building upon this fall's momentum and are already beginning work on recruiting the incoming Fall 2011 freshmen class. It is an exciting time, and I join the faculty, staff, and students in being enthusiastic about a bright future at VCSU!