CU-Boulder fall enrollment over timeNOTE: Students enrolling as a result of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 are excluded from all tables.
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
Last revision 09/21/12
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