LAS CRUCES – New Mexico State University has seen a 3% drop in enrollment this year, the majority of which are sophomores and juniors, according to Chancellor Dan Arvizu.
“It’s not the full-time freshmen who are on the decline,” said Arvizu. “(The number of freshmen) is down to 100 – maybe not even – students.”
Enrollment of graduate students increased 0.8 percent.
However, there has been a noticeable decrease in graduate students, juniors and seniors.
“It’s alarming for us,” Arvizu said. “We’re so focused on retention. It’s not because they’re not doing well. It’s because they had to step down for risk reasons related to finances and family matters.”
As of September 3, the NMSU had 21,694 students across all campuses. Here’s how each campus fared in terms of enrollment from last year to this year:
- The main campus was down 2.3 percent;
- NMSU Carlsbad grew 13.1 percent;
- NMSU grants increased by 11.3%;
- NMSU Alamogordo increased 0.5 percent;
- NMSU’s largest two-year campus, Doña Ana Community College, fell 8.2 percent;
- NMSU’s online college, NMSU O, grew by around 10%.
Last year’s report saw a drop in enrollments across the system as the main campus remained stable, which was not the case this year.
Arvizu explained that the NMSU is currently investigating the causes, but he has some ideas based on the recent DACC investigation.
“(At DACC) they looked at the group of at-risk students versus non-at-risk students,” Arvizu said. “What we saw last year, from 20 to 21, is a 42% drop in that cohort group. That’s where most of the people we lost come from. group risk is up 34%. “
Students at risk are considered by three factors in college: first-generation students, low-income students, and students caring for dependents at home. Arvizu said about two-thirds of NMSU’s student body are considered at risk.
Although this was revealed by a DACC enrollment survey, Arvizu expects the main Las Cruces campus to reflect a similar result of at-risk students leaving school in greater numbers.
What’s next for NMSU?
While a 3% drop in registrations seems small, it can have a big impact.
Enrollment accounts for around 33% of the university’s budget, according to Arvizu.
“When everything is in decline, not only do you not increase income, but you decrease income,” Arvizu said. “It’s a bad combination. It is absolutely imperative that we grow up.”
NMSU LEADS 2025, the university’s five-year strategic plan, aims to have around 16,500 students on the main campus by 2025. Arvizu explained that this is supposed to reflect NMSU’s peak enrollment in 2010 with over 18 000 students, but the target is lower due to the mission of graduate students at a faster pace.
According to LEADS 2025 presentation of 2019, the university was aiming to surpass 15,000 by the fall of 2021. As of September, there were not quite 14,000 students on the Las Cruces campus.
Arvizu said the target of 16,500 might be overstated because it was set before the COVID-19 pandemic, but he is still optimistic.
“We look: how do we control our own destiny? Arvizu said. “The way you do it is to be attractive and competitive, to invest in infrastructure, and then to make sure you have the programs that attract students. “
Miranda Cyr, a member of the Report for America Corps, can be reached at [email protected] Where @mirandabcyr on Twitter. Show your support for the Report for America program on https://bit.ly/LCSNRFA.