The first “snapshot” of college enrollments for the 2014-15 school year (fall semester, third week) shows that the number of students enrolled at Utah’s public colleges and universities held steady with a slight net increase at Utah State University, Snow, Dixie State University and Utah Valley University. USU Eastern, the University of Utah, Weber State University, Southern Utah University and Salt Lake Community College each saw a slight decrease.
USU Eastern dropped 42 students from fall semester 2013. The Price campus is down 22 students from last fall while the Blanding campus is down 20, making a 2.7 percent overall decrease in student FTE numbers at USU Eastern.
“The decrease in students was a disappointment on campus. We were tracking ahead in all indicators such as applications and housing deposits, but really dropped the last few weeks.
“The institution is committed to growing to meet the Four in Four goal and fulfilling our mission to educate those who will create and sustain our region.
“We have innovative ideas and increased collaboration with the academic side of the institution to ensure that we are doing everything we can to grow our student body,” said Greg Dart, vice chancellor of enrollment management.
Overall, the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) enrollment for the Fall 2014 semester increased by 136 full-time-equivalent students, for a net increase of one tenth of one percent from 2013. Four of the eight institutions saw increases between 1.85 and 3.39 percent, while the other four saw decreases ranging from 0.93 to 5.31 percent.
“Utah is bucking the national trend of decreasing enrollments, and overall our numbers continue to hold steady. Several USHE
institutions are seeing a slight growth, while some, such as Salt Lake Community College, are seeing a decline. As a large part of their student body is enrolled part-time, we believe this decline is due to more people returning to full-time employment as the economy improves,” said Dave Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education.
“We anticipate that the overall growth in the USHE system will continue to outpace nationwide trends, partly due to Utah’s young, large and growing population,” he said.
Total budget-related FTE (“full-time equivalent”) approximates the number of students enrolled full-time (15 semester hours for undergraduate students; 10 semester hours for graduate students) each semester. That number totaled 106,816 in the fall of 2014, compared to 106,680 in the fall of 2013. Headcount includes all students enrolled at an institution.
Although WSU declined in FTE, it experienced the largest percentage in student headcount (total number of students enrolled in classes) with a 3.81 percent growth, followed by Snow at 3.78 percent, DSU 2.63 percent and UVU 2.51 percent.
SLCC lost the highest percentage of student headcount with a 5.14 percent decrease followed by USU Eastern 3.9 percent, U of U 1.76 percent, SUU 1.15 percent and USU .54 percent.
Additionally, particularly at institutions with a community college mission, USHE serves several thousand students in non-traditional programs, which are not budget-related, do not receive any taxpayer support, and are not included in the third week totals. These include short-term training programs, distance education, and non-credit technical training.
USHE institutions also serve over 27,000 high school students in concurrent enrollment. It is also important to note that some students enroll in programs that begin after the third-week enrollment census is taken. To provide a more complete picture of fall enrollments, final semester numbers will be released when available. Some institutions have a large number of part-time students, which accounts for the difference between their FTE and headcount.