Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- Duluth could see less college students this academic year. Projections put preliminary numbers a little lower in three of Duluth's intuitions of higher learning.
"Our freshman class this fall looks to be slightly smaller than last year's freshman class," said Eric Berg, with Enrollment Management at St. Scholastica.
"We're looking like we'll be down a few percent for the total student numbers," said Andrea Schokker, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
"Right now we're about three percent behind last year's fall," said Gary Kruchowski with Lake Superior College.
Projected numbers show enrollment is falling slightly in Duluth colleges.
"I think it's a confluence of a number of factors," said Berg at his Scholastica office Monday.
Berg says a number of factors come into play in the enrollment equation, the big one being the Great Recession.
"Until 2008 nobody saw the Great Recession coming the way it did," said Berg. "A lot of projections on what high school students were going to be doing changed then. Family's ability to access loans based on credit rating changed."
Also, the enrollment dips are small. LSC is budgeting to break even with last year's enrollment. UMD officials report the projected overall enrollment will only be a couple of percentage points lower and St. Scholastica is seeing slightly fewer freshman--and not all news is negative.
"Our new freshman were up eight and a half percent as of today," said Schokker.
"Our non-traditional population, our graduate, our extended sites and our online programs are containing to see good growth," said Berg.
At St. Scholastica non-traditional programs are growing so fast, their overall enrollment did see growth this year, unlike UMD and LSC.