Enrollment is up this year at the University of Minnesota Crookston, in part due to an increase in student retention, according to UMC Vice Chancellor John Hoffman.

This fall there were 1,839 undergraduate students at the university, up just slightly from last year by five students. Overall enrollment in the University of Minnesota system was at 67,024 students.

UMC Vice Chancellor John Hoffman said this year’s freshman class is also the most racially and ethnically diverse class the campus has ever had.

Hoffman said about 10% of students graduate in three years at the Crookston campus, the highest of any university in the University of Minnesota system. While Hoffman views that as a positive way to reduce student debt, he said it also makes keeping enrollment numbers up a challenge.

The university is conducting holistic reviews with students and is also in the first year of a four-year pilot program that will not require prospective students to submit an ACT or SAT score in order to be accepted into the university.

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“I think that’s going to position us well for some future growth,” Hoffman said.

The university has a new Student Success Center built on helping students grow in the classroom and finding ways to help students stay with the university.

The school also has worked to address the needs of first-generation students, earning nationally recognition for the effort.

Earlier this year, the campus was recognized as a First Forward institution from the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation. UMC was among the first 80 universities and is one of two institutions its size in the country to receive the honor.

UMC offers a number of programs to help first-generation college students, including a financial literacy program that helps students report payments they make in dorms as a way to help build a credit score. Hoffman previously said it’s an example of programs the campus has to help students ensure they are getting the most out of their degree, beyond what they learn in their respective career field.

The university is working on a number of initiatives to further help students.

The enrollment management department is changing its focus to talk with students about how to succeed in college before they even apply as well as in the time between when students apply for school and when they actually arrive on campus.

The school is also overhauling its academic advising process, which aims to help students navigate college courses more easily and allow professors to reach out to struggling students sooner.