This archived article was written by: Mara Wimmar
Utah State University initiated a change in the methodology of recruiting incoming freshmen to the university in 2015. Instead of Utah State University and Utah State University Eastern recruiting new freshmen separately, the two departments combined to make a larger department that recruits for both campuses and all of the extensions. The idea is that all of Utah State University will benefit from a more universal-system approach.
“Something that has changed this is that we have taken all of our offices of recruitment and enrollment and merged them,” Greg Dart, vice chancellor and chief enrollment officer said. “So, basically there is a joint office of recruitment for all campuses. Up until this year that was not the case. We [Utah State University Eastern] ran a completely separate function.”
Many students, both high school and college, see Utah State University Eastern as a separate college from Utah State University in Logan. It is often believed that the only thing the two locations share is a name. One goal of the new system approach is to eliminate this confusion and to show the masses that the two schools are in fact the same school. At college fairs and other recruiting events, there is only one booth or station for Utah State University. This one booth represents Eastern, Logan, and the regional campuses.
“Utah State has a big brand within Utah,” Kristian Olsen, director of enrollment services said. “It is a well known entity. We never, in the five years we have been part of Utah State, have been able to leverage that brand. Now people are going to know we are a part of Utah State.”
Enrollment was not strongly impacted by the new method during enrollment for Spring 2016 semester as the system is in the beta stages. The number of returning students was higher than that of previous years while new student enrollment stayed relatively the same.
“We just do not have enough data or time,” Olsen said. “Overall our spring numbers look really good. We are up over where we were last year. ”
One of the goals of the new system approach is to reach a broader variety of potential students for both campuses and to educate them on the potential at Utah State University. Colleges and universities all have requirements to get in to attend; however, with Utah State University if a student does not qualify for the Logan campus, he or she can attend Utah State University Eastern in Price. Both locations and all of the extensions are all part of one larger organization and have the same quality and standard of learning.
“When we merged with Utah State we became Utah State,” Dart said. “Our faculty are credentialed at the exact same level. Our degrees are Utah State degrees. Everything a student gains here is on par with Logan academically.”
USU wants to accommodate as many students as possible and give them the best education. There is an innate understanding that not all students did well in high school or can afford the tuition of attending the Logan campus. One of the major groups of people considered in this new system is potential for out-of-state students. The tuition of Utah State University Eastern for out-of-state students is just under the amount of in-state tuition in Logan. This provides these students with the option of attending a Utah State University campus while developing residency in order to later attend the Logan campus.
“[Recruiting out of state students] is definitely an area where I think we have significant opportunity,” Dart said. “Our new communication plan for out-of-state students gets unveiled this month. For those students who have shown interest in attending Utah State, but for whatever reason the parameters for them to attend Utah State make no sense, we will make a really heavy push to having them come here. We think that is where we see the biggest opportunity for growth in the new system.”
While Utah State University Eastern has an extra word in its name, it is part of Utah State University and a larger picture. As time moves forward, the two campuses become closer and work together more. Changing how new students are recruited into a more system-wide approach to get them to come to all of the campuses is just another step toward unity.