Mesa State’s enrollment growth to lead state next year

Mesa State College is projected to have the greatest percentage boost in full-time student enrollment in Colorado next year, according to estimates from the Colorado Legislative Council.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education will examine the enrollment forecast for nine Colorado public colleges and the state’s community college system during a meeting today in Lakewood.

The forecast estimates Mesa State will lead the way with 4.3 percent enrollment growth in 2010-11.

Fellow Western Slope schools Fort Lewis College and Western State College are expected to see dips in enrollment next year.

The estimate puts Mesa State at 6,112 full-time students next year, up from an estimated full-time student population of 5,859 this year.

If the estimate proves to be correct, that would mean a nearly 42 percent increase in full-time enrollment from the college’s student population from fall 2000 to fall 2010.

Retention and recruitment are contributing to the increases in student enrollment Mesa State has experienced every year since 2006-07, college spokeswoman Dana Nunn said.

The college performs a retention study each year to see how many students it kept between the fall and spring semesters.

Compared with last year, retention increased this year by 6 percent for both full-time students seeking a four-year degree (90 percent) and full-time students seeking a two-year degree (86 percent).

Nunn listed new buildings on campus, tutoring and mentoring programs, and an “early alert” system that lets teachers know when a student’s grades are in trouble as retention and recruitment tools.

Plus, there’s the historic trend of college enrollment increasing when economic situations plummet.

The need for financial assistance also generally increases during tough times, which is why Mesa State awarded more financial aid this school year than in any previous year.

The total reached $47 million, a $10 million increase from 2008-09.


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