This archived article was written by: The Eagle Staff
After several years of enrollment growth Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah saw a drop in student numbers this fall. USU Eastern’s 11.8 percent enrollment decline is in contrast to the trend of Utah’s public colleges and universities that increased over 1,000 full-time equivalent students, or 1.17 percent.
Dixie State College saw the largest percentage increase at 4.52 percent (273 students) followed by Utah Valley University at 3.65 percent (695 students) and Utah State University at 2.48 percent (474 students), Snow College went up 2.62 percent (83 students), University of Utah 2.23 percent (573 students) and Weber State University .88 percent (121 students).
Colleges decreasing in enrollment included Salt Lake Community College dropping 4.29 percent (711 students) and Southern Utah University dropping 3.74 percent (233 students).
“After big gains in 2010, this year’s enrollment backslide was sobering. Eastern has been working with an enrollment management consulting firm since before the start of fall semester, and new marketing, recruitment, and retention initiatives are in the works on many fronts,” said Academic Vice Chancellor Greg Benson.
According to an enrollment document provided by USU AAA office in Logan, the headcount at USU Eastern’s freshman class dropped 50 percent from 1,869 in 2010 to 944 in 2011. The sophomore class dropped 45.5 percent from 765 in 2010 to 348 in 2011. What helped the college’s overall enrollment numbers were the 153 students enrolled on in junior-level classes and 64 students in senior-level classes on the Price campus that were not available in 2010. The document classified 814 students as unclassified in the enrollment numbers.
Jan Young, director of admissions and records, said the 814 unclassified students are “the non-matriculated students – people not going for a degree and concurrent enrollment students.”
Students who entered USU Eastern as a first-time college student dropped 44 percent from 2010 to 2011 from 686 to 453 (233 students).
The bright spots in enrollment were the number of transfer students enrolling which went up 120.5 percent (16 students) and those students continuing from the previous year went up from 1,005 to 1,142 (113.6 percent).
One hundred and fifty fewer women are attending USU Eastern in 2011; 90 fewer males are attending.
In race and ethnicity, American Indian dropped 58 students (11.7 percent), Asian dropped 39 (54.9 percent), Hispanic dropped 3 (12 percent), Pacific Island added one (114.3 percent), two or more races added 13 students, with the total minority enrollment dropping 13.7 percent.
USU Eastern’s full-time equivalent enrollment numbers include the Price campus and San Juan campus. In budget-related numbers, the Price campus lost 187.9 (15 percent) students from 2010-11 and San Juan lost 38.7 (8.8 percent).
The Price campus lost 175.6 Utah residents (14.8 percent) and 35.3 non-residents (25.4 percent). The San Juan campus lost 44.4 Utah residents (10.5 percent) and gained 5.8 (125.8 percent) non-residents.
The regional USU campuses all experienced enrollment growth except the Tooele/Wasatch campus which dropped 1.6 percent. Brigham City jumped 111.4 percent, Southeastern Utah (Grand County) 134.5 percent, Uinta Basin 113.1 percent.
“For the past few years, we have seen enrollment numbers grow and that still appears to be the case. We would have seen even greater growth this year if colleges had not been forced to limit course offerings due to space and faculty availability,” said Bill Sederburg, Commissioner of Higher Education in a press release issued by the Board of Regents. “To reach our ‘Big Goal’ to achieve 66 percent of Utah’s workforce with a post-secondary credential in the next decade, it is extremely important that enrollment numbers continue to grow each year.”