October 2, 2023

Post-secondary enrollment up after pandemic slowed growth

Utah’s degree-granting public colleges and universities rose 1.45% compared to last year.

In its annual release, data from the Utah System of Higher Education shows enrollment at Utah’s degree-granting public colleges and universities rose 1.45% compared to last year. Though up in total undergraduate enrollment at USHE degree-granting institutions (1.60%), graduate enrollment saw a slight decrease over last year (-0.34%).

Degree-granting institution fall enrollment headcount is measured at the third week of the fall semester. Technical college enrollment and headcount are measured at the end of the fiscal quarter. It is anticipated that USHE technical college enrollment data will be released at the end of this month with a full look at systemwide enrollment.

“Contrary to national trends, Utahns are continuing to see the value in higher education, and they are taking steps to enroll in college and better their future,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Though we lost some momentum during the pandemic, I am optimistic that we will continue to see more students benefit from completing a certificate or degree at USHE colleges.”

Salt Lake Community College has a percentage loss of 3.22% from this year to last, with a total accumulated loss of 877 students from fall 2021 to fall 2022. Snow College also saw a loss of 1.79 students in the last 12 months. Only 109 students down, but still noticeable as a loss for the institution. 

A majority of the learning institutions saw a growth that shows substantial progress form higher ed in the state of Utah. Utah State University as a whole saw an increase of 1.89% totalling 517 newly enrolled students in the state. 

Detailed headcount data outlined by institution type, student level, award-seeking (matriculation) status and more is published at ushe.edu/institutional-data-resources-headcount.

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. Salt Lake Community College’s School of Applied Technology enrollment numbers are included in these third-week totals as one step toward presenting this data. System leadership is continuing to work to present this data in the future for a more holistic picture of enrollment at our institutions.

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