ST. CLOUD - Despite drops in enrollment, a budget deficit and staff shortages, St. Cloud State University remains optimistic moving into 2015.

SCSU President Earl H. Potter III gave his convocation address on Tuesday morning, saying the University had many successes and challenges last year.

Potter says the University has success increasing its technology use and access across campus, including its mass communications department and Husky Hockey broadcasts.

Potter mentioned more technology in the ISELF building, a new sales business lab and a social work home care lab. It was also highlighted that many departments have also partnered with industry leaders, to give students hands-on work experience and job opportunities.

2014 was also a challenging year for the University. Potter says they continue to deal with a budget shortfall and staff shortages. Potter announced last August that the school had a budget deficit between $8 and $10 million.  The University expects a 2-2.5 percent decrease in student enrollment next fall.

MnSCU will be looking for $142 million in state legislative money this year and are promising a tuition freeze if they get the funds. Potter says he continues to promise no staff layoffs this year, and what they can do will largely depend on the state.

Last year, St. Cloud State imposed a hiring freeze for non-essential workers and has also reduced non-personnel spending by five percent. A program has also been put into place to indentify areas to cut spending or relocate resources where they will be more efficient. Potter says the planning committee for the project is estimated to save the school between $3 to $7 million.

Potter also highlighted progress in creating a more diverse campus community. There was an 8.8 percent increase in international students at the school last year from 90 different countries.

Lastly, the study abroad program was highlighted. In 2014, SCSU pledged to double its students involved by 2019, with a goal of having 700 students in the program. A recent study revealed that the University is on track to meet this goal.