Enrollment in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has hit another record level.
Officials said 203,756 students are are enrolled in MnSCU's 32 schools this fall. That's a 2.7 percent increase over last year and the fifth consecutive year that enrollment has gone up.
MnSCU spokesperson Melinda Voss says the tough economy is behind the increase. People who've lost jobs continue to return to school and more workers are taking classes to update their jobs skills.
"There are more older adults who are coming to our colleges and universities because they do want to retool, start a new career, upgrade their career," she said. "We are particularly well-suited for those kinds of career changes."
Voss says enrollment grew among 25- to 34-year-olds by 8 percent. It grew 6 percent among 35 to 44-year old students.
MnSCU officials also noted:
- More students qualified for federally funded Pell grants. Students eligible for federally funded Pell grants grew by 18.3 percent. Pell grant eligibility is typically used by higher education institutions as an indication of family income.
- More students returned from last year. Enrollment of continuing students was up 5 percent.
- Part-time students are taking more credits. The number of students taking between nine and 11.9 credits grew by 12.2 percent. The number of students taking between 6 and 8.9 credits grew by 7 percent, while students taking fewer than six credits decreased.
- More undergraduate students transferred. Transfer of undergraduate students also increased by 8.5 percent.