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UND reports enrollment increase of 1.9 percent

GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota on Wednesday reported a spring semester enrollment of 12,076 students, up 1.9 percent from last year.

North Dakota State University, which reported its numbers Tuesday, has 12,562 students, up 7.4 percent.

Of students enrolled at UND, 48.9 percent are North Dakotans and 31.2 percent are Minnesotans, with the rest from other states and abroad.

Compare this to NDSU where 47.5 percent of students are North Dakotans and 37.7 percent are Minnesotans.

While North Dakotans now make up a majority of the UND student population, that will likely change if, as demographic trends suggest, the state's youth population continues to drop, said spokesman Peter Johnson.

Johnson said UND is targeting the Twin Cities, the nearest major American population center. Traditionally, he said, college students do not stray much farther than five hours' drive from home.

There is competition between UND and NDSU for students, Johnson said, but there's also a lot of competition with Minnesota universities. When UND loses a prospective student from Minnesota, he said, more often than not it's to a university in Minnesota not NDSU.

UND reported a record 2,165 graduate students, up 10.6 percent from a year ago and 1.4 percent from the previous semester.

There are now 2,165 grad students, up 10.6 percent compared with a year ago and 1.4 percent compared with the previous semester.

Graduate School Dean Joey Benoit earlier said the growth was because of UND's more aggressive outreach to prospective students and its ability to offer degrees rarely found elsewhere, such as a master's degree in space studies that students can take online.

Distance learning, a field UND specializes in, may have seen growth, too.

The university only started separating distance learners in its statistics in fall 2008, but Johnson said officials involved are certain they've seen an increase.

There are now 1,190 distance learners, a 14.6 percent increase over fall semester.