News Release

Campus leaders outline priorities for enrollment, financial sustainability

The seal of the University of Minnesota in relief on a brick wall

Increasing pressure on traditional revenues demands new approaches across the U of M System

The chancellors of the University of Minnesota’s four Greater Minnesota campuses joined the Board of Regents this morning for a broad discussion about enrollment strategies and other key strategic initiatives on each campus. 

“State funding and tuition have always been essential to university operating budgets, but decades of stagnant state support for our public universities has significantly increased pressure to enroll more tuition-paying students,” said Board Chair Janie Mayeron. “That, combined with well-known demographic changes, means new and systemwide approaches are necessary to build sustainable and balanced budgets. Our focus must be on more than recruiting and retaining students, it’s also about closely examining how we can best serve our students and mission. The depth of today’s discussion shows the investment our University leaders have in solving these challenges.”

Enrollment trends at the U of M are consistent with many large public university systems throughout the nation. Flagship campuses have generally seen enrollment return to or exceed pre-pandemic levels, while many regional campuses have experienced continued challenges, despite the many high-value learning, research and outreach opportunities these campuses are uniquely suited to provide their students. 

A combination of factors creates relatively specific circumstances challenging U of M campuses. Notably, the chancellors’ presentations cited statistics from Minnesota and the Upper Midwest that show shifting age demographics, decreasing numbers of high school graduates and fewer high school grads choosing to attend college.

Each of the four campus leaders who took part in Friday’s discussion — Crookston’s Mary Holz-Clause, Duluth’s David McMillan, Morris’ Janet Ericksen, and Rochester’s Lori Carrell — provided a snapshot of enrollment trends on their campuses from recent years, as well as outlooks for the years ahead. 

Amidst optimism about aspects of recent results and future plans, all acknowledged these campuses are facing key decisions related to long-term financial sustainability — decisions that go beyond enrollment management. As state divestment in recent decades puts increasing pressure on stabilizing enrollment — and demographic challenges and lingering pandemic effects exacerbate these pressures — leaders noted overcoming budget challenges requires innovative solutions. Redefining academic offerings and further streamlining campus operations were examples of critical choices that current and future plans must address.

Leaders also illustrated the unique competitiveness of each campus where students can earn a University of Minnesota degree. Each highlighted the areas in which their campus stood out in its service to students and the state of Minnesota, and the efforts they’ve undertaken to further define and differentiate what they provide students, faculty and their surrounding communities. 

Board Continues to Welcome Public Feedback through Virtual Forum

The Board accepted in-person public comments on the President’s Recommended Fiscal Year 2025 Annual Operating Budget on Friday. Additionally, the Board continues to welcome public comment on the recommended budget and any other U of M topics through the Board’s Virtual Forum, which is available online at any time. Submitted comments about the budget recommendation will become part of the public record if submitted by 10 a.m. on Friday, June 7.

The Board also:

  • Discussed health sciences strategic planning with the deans of the University’s six health sciences schools.
  • Approved recommendations for promotion and tenure and other academic appointments.
  • Reviewed proposed amendments to Board of Regents Policy: Tuition and Fees.
  • Reviewed the recommended FY25 operations and capital improvement budgets with Interim President Jeff Ettinger.
  • Reviewed the annual workforce and human resources strategy report.
  • Approved the appointment of Charles Nies as chancellor at the Duluth campus.
  • Recognized distinguished students, faculty and staff.
  • Reviewed a resolution related to the revocation of the honorary naming of Nicholson Hall on the Twin Cities campus.
  • Received an update on the Workforce Reinvestment Resolution.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet next June 13-14. Visit for more information. 

Media Contacts

Main Line

University Public Relations

Jake Ricker

University Public Relations