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CU-Boulder fall enrollment over time

NOTE: Students enrolling as a result of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 are excluded from all tables.
All columns report only students with state FTE-reportable hours.
Census, fall A: Total. This is traditionally reported population. 99 - present NOT comparable to prior years B: Boulder degree-seeking and teacher licensure students only. Comparable Over time C: Difference = Non-degree plus UCD, UCCS, UCHSC students Pct change from 1988, column B
2013 29,839 29,325 518 22.2%
2012 29,850 29,278 572 22.0%
2011 30,417 29,884 533 24.5%
2010 30,504 29,954 550 24.8%
2009 30,659 30,196 463 25.8%
2008 30,128 29,709 419 23.8%
2007 29,461 28,988 473 20.8%
2006 29,395 28,942 453 20.6%
2005 29,115 28,624 491 19.2%
2004 29,756 29,258 498 21.9%
2003 29,827 29,151 676 21.4%
2002 28,644 27,954 690 16.5%
2001 27,289 26,597 692 10.8%
2000 26,697 26,035 662 8.5%
1999 26,318 25,656 662 6.9%
1998 25,125 25,074 51 4.5%
1997 25,109 25,062 47 4.4%
1996 24,622 24,563 59 2.3%
1995 24,440 24,390 50 1.6%
1994 24,548 24,503 45 2.1%
1993 25,013 24,977 36 4.0%
1992 25,089 25,044 45 4.3%
1991 25,571 25,504 67 6.2%
1990 25,176 25,112 64 4.6%
1989 24,364 24,303 61 1.2%
1988 24,072 24,005 67 0.0%

Understanding the numbers

Between 1980 (and probably earlier) and 1999, CU-Boulder included in its reported fall enrollment all students with any credit hours reportable to the state for "FTE funding" (FTE means full-time equivalent, a concept used in CCHE funding allocations). Other students - CU study abroad, faculty and staff members taking courses, and students enrolled through continuing education - were not mentioned. These "other students" are typically not pursuing Boulder campus degrees, and take only one or two courses in a term. They are usually enrolled in the evening, on a space-available basis in regular classes (once called SAVE enrollment), or through correspondence courses.

Between 1980 and 1998, over 99% of total reported fall enrollment was by students enrolled in Boulder campus degree programs (bachelors, masters, doctoral, and teacher education).

In 1999 a policy change enabled us to enroll significant numbers of non-degree students in a fashion that allows their credit hours to be reportable for FTE funding. This change is noted on our web posting of enrollment for fall 1999, which states "Note: A reporting change effective spring 1999 means that we now count in regular, FTE-reportable enrollment totals a group of resident students enrolling through the ACCESS program (formerly SAVE). These students were previously counted in Continuing Ed (aka Extended Studies, aka B2)."

The policy change caused the number of non-degree students in our reported fall enrollment to increase from 51 in fall 1998 to 662 in fall 1999, as shown on Table 3 for 1999.

The change made in 1999 destroyed the comparability of the time series of fall enrollments. The 611 "extra" non-degree students were not actually extra - they were simply reported in a different way in 1999 than in 1998. This is why we posted cautions about this in our fall 1999 enrollment snapshots.

Since fall 1999 we have determined that we can restore comparability of the time series by restricting counts in all years to students with FTE-reportable hours who are enrolled in Boulder campus degree programs.

Students seeking Boulder campus degrees and certificates are the focus of enrollment planning and management. These are students who are in Boulder to study, to pursue degrees. They would say "I am a CU student." Non-degree students are typically in Boulder for other reasons, and take courses on an incidental basis. They would say "I take courses at CU," not "I am a CU student."

The table above shows

  • A: All students with FTE-reportable hours - the population we have traditionally reported. Column A matches past reports. However, due to the policy change, 1999 and later numbers are not comparable to those in earlier years.
  • B: Students with FTE-reportable hours who are enrolled in Boulder campus degree and certification programs. This series is comparable over time. The fall 2000 number matches those reported to the press, and match the "degree-seeking" totals in our enrollment snapshots.
  • C: The difference, students with FTE-reportable hours who are non-degree or are CU-Denver, CU-Colorado Springs, and CU-Health Sciences Center students. Note the large increase between 1998 and 1999 - this is due solely to the policy change.

Last revision 09/24/13


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