ASU Enrollment in Decline


Based on figures obtained through Quick Facts, an online database of student enrollment, annual enrollment at Adams State University (ASU) dropped by 78 students, or 4.4% from spring 2015 to spring 2016. The largest class drop was among ASU Seniors – from 531 to 466 students, 65 students or 12.2%.

One source familiar with revenue at ASU stated, “every 2% drop is about a $1 million loss to the university.” This means ASU’s recent loss in enrollment has cost the university approximately $2.2 million.

As a result of the enrollment drop, ASU on-campus housing is currently around 60% of capacity. Multiple sources have confirmed this estimate.

The total number of student credit hours (SCH) from spring 2015 to spring 2016 also dropped by 4.4%. As a result of lower course enrollment, sources report Vice President of Academic Affairs Frank Novotny has reduced course offerings so significantly that many students are forced onto a 5-6 year plan to graduate with the necessary classes for their degree.

In-state student enrollment fell by 4.8% while out-of-state student enrollment dropped 2.6%. While Sophomore and Freshmen enrollment are down 10.5% and 1.3% respectively, the Junior class rose by 11.9%, the only class in which numbers increased. This could be a combination of a larger Freshmen class from 2014 moving towards graduation or an influx of transfer students, which are also up by 18.2%.

ASU’s census date is the standard measure for student enrollment, however another factor could also be considered. ASU has not commonly tracked end-of-semester enrollment, which is likely to be lower than that of the census date early in the semester as some students drop out mid-semester.

One employee familiar with enrollment and graduation rates at ASU said, “I hate to think what our true retention numbers are. It’s already so embarrassing that the FAFSA lists ASU’s graduation and retention numbers. ASU is always the lowest listed, especially among Colorado schools.” For more on this, see ASU Lowest Graduation Rate Among Top 10 Affordable CO Schools.

Despite this downward trend in enrollment, or likely because of it, ASU has been aggressively marketing a “Guaranteed Tuition” program. For more on this, see Guaranteed Tuition a Guaranteed Distraction.

And as a result of these and related financial liabilities, the investment analyst firm Moody’s has downgraded ASU’s credit rating to A3 with an underlying rating of negative. See Moody’s Downgrades ASU’s Credit Rating for further coverage.

The full data set obtained for this report is posted here:


ASU Quick Facts Feb 2016-1ASU Quick Facts Feb 2016-2