MnSCU progresses toward enrollment goals; presidents receive performance pay

Posted: November 5, 2010

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system made significant progress last year toward achieving system goals, and system leaders received one-time performance payments for the progress made. Base salaries for presidents have been frozen for the past two years.

“We are proud of what the presidents have accomplished under especially difficult economic conditions,” said Scott Thiss, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Meeting these goals is critical to ensuring that Minnesota continues to have a world-class workforce as baby boomers retire and a younger, more diverse population moves up.”

Under direction from the Board of Trustees, the system’s presidents focused on goals such as increasing retention and graduation of underrepresented students and increasing enrollment of students in online courses and in science, technology, engineering and math courses, among other things. Specifically, the system has:

  • Achieved 76 percent of the increase needed to meet the system’s 2014 goal for retaining students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education, who include students of color, first-generation college students and low-income students. The system’s goal is to increase the percentage of underrepresented students who persist in college for at least one year to 73.5 percent by 2014. About 1,800 more underrepresented students have continued or completed their studies, an 11 percent increase from fall 2007 to fall 2009.
  • Enrolled an additional 13,000 students in science, technology, engineering and math courses, a 12 percent increase since 2008. This also means the system has achieved this goal three years early.

    In fiscal year 2010, about 128,000 students were taking these courses, surpassing the goal of 114,477 students by June 30, 2011.
  • Increased enrollment in online courses by 61 percent since fiscal year 2008. At the current rate, the system is on track to reach its 2015 goal of having 25 percent of the system’s full-year equivalent enrollment in online courses. By fiscal year 2010, 17.1 percent of the system’s full-year equivalent students were enrolled in online courses.

Under the terms of their contracts, the presidents and vice chancellors are eligible for performance pay of up to $15,000 if they meet specific measures. State law requires that pay increases for administrators be based on their performance.

“I am pleased the presidents are making progress on the system goals,” said Chancellor James H. McCormick, who conducted the performance evaluations. “The students and the people of Minnesota are benefiting from improved performance. We’re making more effective use of resources and providing accessible programs and services.”

Thiss said: “The Board of Trustees also remains committed to performance incentives because they provide greater accountability by the system’s top leaders, and they support the board’s general philosophy of basing compensation on achievements. This approach helps ensure taxpayers receive a good return on their investment.”

Performance pay was given for their role achieving goals such as retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students; enrollment of students in science, technology, engineering and math; online enrollment; serving dislocated workers; resource management; continuous improvement; and energy conservation.

The system also made substantial progress in several other areas. They include enrolling 433,639 credit and noncredit students in fiscal year 2010, an increase of 44,000 or 15 percent compared to fiscal year 2008; enrolling 47,268 students of color last year, an additional 9,672 or 25 percent more than 2008; and offering more than 400 programs and 10,000 course sections completely or predominantly online.

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