This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward
The trend of declining enrollment has been the focus of this spring semester series, but decline in enrollment is not only a problem between academic years, but also between fall and spring semesters where Eastern dropped over 25 percent of its enrollment between fall 2016 and spring 2017.
The decline in enrollment is something to be expected across all universities, however this transition seemed to have more of a dramatic reduction. USU Eastern lost 374 students (headcount) between the two semesters and 278 FTE (full-time equivalent) students, that’s a 27 percent headcount drop and 25 percent FTE drop respectively.
Fall semester 2016, 1,407 students were enrolled. By spring semester 2017, 1,033 were enrolled. FTE saw less of a drop going from 1,086 students in the fall to 818 students in the spring.
The last time Eastern saw over 300 students leaving was in 2012 when 337 students (headcount) left and in 2014 when 310 students did not return for spring semester.
The USU’s Logan campus lost 1,385 FTE students or dropped 9 percent from fall to spring and 1,291 headcount for an 8 percent drop. The difference being the percentage lost from the Price campus and Logan campuses being substantial. Logan had 15,374 FTE in the fall and 17,028 headcount. In the spring, it had 13,989 FTE and 15,737 headcount.
Southern Utah University had 1,050 students not return from fall to spring semesters this academic year.
According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, “’It’s just so consistent, it’s just almost something you can count on that will be a phenomenon’ each year, said David Buhler, Utah commissioner of higher education.”
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that the national average is 4.9 percent decline between fall 2015 and spring 2016.
The Tribune reported that Weber State University lost the highest percentage of students of any Utah public school this year with nearly an 18 percent drop.