U ranks 2nd in enrollment

Mehgan Lee

With approximately 51,000 enrolled students, University officials said Wednesday that the institution has become the second-largest four-year institution in the country.

The University has 50,954 students enrolled this fall, a 3 percent increase since last year, according to statistics the University Office of Institutional Research and Reporting released this week.

According to the University News Service, The Ohio State University has 50,995 enrolled students this fall, 41 more than the University of Minnesota.

In 2003, the University of Minnesota placed third in the nation in student enrollments. The Ohio State University led again, with 50,731 enrolled students, officials said.

The new enrollment figures bumped the University past the University of Texas at Austin, which placed second in last year’s rankings.

The Texas institution has a preliminary count of 50,403 students enrolled this fall and will try to shrink enrollment to 48,000 students, said Maryann Ruddock, the associate vice president and director of the

Office of Institutional Research at the university.

If fewer students enroll, student-faculty ratios should improve, she said.

“So this is a planned decrease,” Ruddock said. “There is a point where an institution can become too big.”

As long as there is not overcrowding, a large campus provides many benefits, said Victor Bloomfield, interim dean of the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School and vice provost for research.

“Generally, a big program is more prominent,” he said. “It produces more publications and it gets more attention.”

Graduate student enrollment increased 8.2 percent this year.

Nondegree-seeking student enrollment increased 26.6 percent this year, according to the University of Minnesota research office.

Does size matter?

Several students described positives and negatives about attending the University of Minnesota.

Andrea Russell, a kinesiology senior, said the large number of students at the University of Minnesota causes large student-faculty ratios.

“There’s not a lot of individualized attention from teachers,” she said. “Kids have to be more independent.”

But Abby Lundsten, an elementary education sophomore, said she likes the independence and that less teacher support at a large campus fosters students.

“Some of the smaller schools just reminded me of high school,” she said.

Students, such as child psychology sophomore Katie

Tinucci, said they enroll at the University of Minnesota because of its large size.

“I love people and to be surrounded by so many people,” Tinucci said.

She said the University of Minnesota offers a lot of opportunities because of its size.

“You can find a club or organization for just about anything here,” she said.

Jake La Coursiere, a mechanical engineering junior, said large campuses can offer more internship opportunities but student enrollments should be regulated.

“They have to do some kind of weeding out,” he said. “I think there needs to be tighter enrollment for freshmen.”

More numbers released

A 7.8 percent increase in first-year student enrollment was bigger than expected, said Craig Swan, vice provost for undergraduate education.

Typically, approximately 12 percent of first-year students never show up on campus in the fall, said Ron Matross, senior analyst in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

Calling the annual occurrence “the summer melt,” Matross said that this year, only 10 percent of first-year students didn’t show.

“This year, they didn’t melt,” he said.

The number of students identifying themselves as minorities increased by 5.4 percent this year, bringing the campus total to 7,056 students.

The number of transfer students decreased 20.5 percent this year. However, last year, the number of transfer students increased by 18.4 percent.

“That number bounces around a lot,” Swan said. He said he will only be concerned if the rates continue to decline next year.