Looking toward tonight’s “Focus on the Future” event at Western New Mexico University, I threw together this chart to highlight the growing problem of declining enrollment at the school.
In blue are the credit hours for lower division courses, while the numbers in green and red indicate upper and graduate division courses, respectively.
To understand the significance of this chart (aside from the way the blue line is moving) you need to know how colleges in New Mexico are funded. It’s an incredibly complex formula, which I will condense for you thusly: schools are compensated by the state for the classes they teach. For every credit hour at WNMU, the state pays the school based on the type of course taken. Graduate level courses mean more money than lower division classes.
WNMU has been trying to increase enrollment in upper and graduate level courses (since those pay out more) and it looks like the trend there is OK. Upper level courses are increasing, while credit hours for graduate classes remains basically flat, though trending down. That’s not bad, if you have the lower-division courses to back it up.
We can expect to here more about this from Counts this evening.
Oh, for a look at the numbers as provided by the Higher Education Department, download this: WNMU_Enrollment FY05-06.pdf (Acrobat reader required).