Minot State University optimistic about future student enrollments

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:33 PM CST
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MINOT, N.D (KMOT) – According to the website Higher Ed Dive, more than a dozen colleges and universities across the country have closed in the last two years, and more are set to close in the coming years for several reasons.

While none of these are in North Dakota, institutions of higher learning in the Peace Garden State have seen drops in students.

Minot State University has seen an enrollment drop, but they are far from the only school facing this issue.

Colton McSwain, a junior at MSU, said he can understand why with time constraints.

”If I didn’t have a spouse supporting me, I don’t think I could do it myself,” said McSwain.

After high school, Colton worked in medicine in the military for four years before going to college. He’s majoring in cybersecurity and computer science at MSU.

MSU President Dr. Steven Shirley said enrollment has dropped 16% in the last eight years. Enrollment at North Dakota State University has also dipped nearly the same amount within that time frame.

”Particularly in western and central North Dakota over the last decade or so that we’ve seen smaller graduating high school class sizes,” said Shirley.

Susan Ogurek, a workforce manager with Job Service ND, said a four-year degree isn’t for everyone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

”Some of our great skill trades are our electricians, our plumbers, our HVACs, welders, truck driving. Those folks can be making up to that six-figure salary,” said Ogurek.

After going into the military for four years, Colton said his education is paid for one hundred percent and he’d advise his children to attain higher education.

”Even if they wanted to do the military route, I would say college first because hopefully with computer science, we can afford to invest in their college,” said McSwain.

Shirley said enrollments ebb and flow and he’s optimistic about higher graduating class sizes and the scholarships they are offering.

According to Higher Ed Dive, no North Dakota college or university has closed in the last three years or is scheduled to close.

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A look at trends in college consolidation since 2016