This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
In an attempt to bring up the amount of students enrolled at USU Eastern, a “Four-in-Four” plan was enacted as a goal for the college in 2012. USUE’s goal was to bring the amount of students enrolled to 4,000 in four years. With 1,800 students enrolled when this goal was set, USUE would have to grow at a larger rate than any other university in Utah.
If student enrollment grows as planned, it brings multiple benefits to the college and the local community. USUE can offer more classes, extra-curricular activities and events for students to attend.
More students also help local businesses and help attract new things to the city of Price.
2013 was a great year for new students and the amount of enrollment increased. The problem is that in the 2014 year, the number of new freshmen dropped by 60 students. Greg Dart, vice chancellor over enrollment management said, “A drop like this can play negatively for the next three years.”
The Price campus is down by two percent and the Blanding campus is down by eight percent.
There is some good in this new year. Fall-to-Fall retention (the amount of freshmen kept for their second year) has increased by nine percent and applicant numbers are at an all-time high.
In addition to this, it is projected that a larger number of returning missionaries and graduating high school students will be enrolling in Utah in fall 2015 than any year in history. There is still hope for USUE to meet the 4,000 students it needs by 2017.
Dart created a plan to help USUE meet the hefty goal. He said, “Students are more likely to enroll in a school if they have visited the campus. Our goal is to get more students to visit than ever before.” This year there have been efforts to do just this. So far in this school year, nearly 900 students have already visited the campus and the hope is that 1,800 students will have visited by the end of the school year.
A pull for brand awareness has also begun and Dart is attempting to make USUE’s brand known throughout Utah.
Weber State University conducted research to see which schools in the state of Utah high school students were aware of. Dart said, “When Weber asked 247 students the question, ‘Why USU Eastern?’ only 11 could answer the question.” The hope is to make high school students aware of USUE and the brand it presents. The more people that recognize USUE, the more likely enrollment is to increase at the rate hoped for.
USUE is not deterred from the goal despite the drop in enrollment, and hopes are still high. Dart is working on plans to bring brand awareness for USU-E as well as reaching more students in Utah (as well as other states).