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Private colleges lead in enrolling full-time students

Private nonprofit colleges and universities lead the state in full-time, new-student enrollment in baccalaureate programs. The 17 institutions that are members of the Minnesota Private College Council represent the vast majority of students enrolled in nonprofit colleges in the state.

Private institutions enrolled 38 percent of new, full-time baccalaureate students, according to fall 2006 enrollment data released by the state's Office of Higher Education. That compared to 32 percent at the University of Minnesota and 31 percent at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. (When part-time students are included, private institutions and the U of M have an equal share of enrollment -- 34 percent as of fall 2007.)

Private nonprofit colleges and universities are also seeing faster growth in four-year degree enrollment than the public systems. Looking at only the members of the Minnesota Private College Council, enrollment grew 10 percent the last five years, according to an analysis of a December state report. That growth rate is almost double what has occurred at the U of M and MnSCU.

"Private colleges and universities are keeping higher education accessible for all Minnesotans," said David B. Laird, Jr., Minnesota Private College Council president. "The quality of education for students is what is most important, but the quantity is a good reminder of the important role we play in our state."

The latest enrollment information about the fall 2007 entering class shows that the 17 Minnesota Private College Council member institutions had an enrollment of 58,598 students, with 42,466 undergraduates and 16,132 graduate students; full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment of 50,790; new freshmen enrollment of 9,109, which has grown 22 percent since 1997; and new transfer enrollment of 2,655.