While state colleges and universities have put out the word that they will turn away students this fall, three private Utah institutions have room for more.
The state Board of Regents, which governs the state's nine public colleges and universities, imposed an enrollment ceiling earlier this year in the midst of a funding crisis. Higher education officials have estimated 3,106 students won't be able to get into the public schools this fall.The state's largest private institution, Brigham Young University, has had an enrollment ceiling of 27,000 students for several years.
But spokesmen for other private colleges - Westminster College, LDS Business College and the University of Phoenix - say they don't have enrollment caps and, in fact, could accommodate some overflow from the state schools.
"You can never have too many students at the University of Phoenix. There are no enrollment caps or ceiling here," said Greg Gough, enrollment director.
Established locally in 1984, the University of Phoenix, 5251 S. Green St., is a business-oriented institution that specializes in education for working adults. The Arizona-based school has 1,200 Utah students and learning centers in Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City and Orem.
A degree-completion school that accepts only students who have some college experience, the University of Phoenix offers baccalaureate degrees in business and nursing, and master's degrees in education, nursing and business. All classes are held in the evening.
Classes start Sept. 28 and all programs have room. As a private school, the University of Phoenix can hire more adjunct faculty and add classes if more students register than were anticipated, Gough said.
Tuition for the average three credit-hour class is $552 for undergraduates and $594 for graduate students.
Monday, Aug. 31, was the first day of fall semester for the 117-year-old Westminster College, Utah's only independent liberal arts college.
Continuing its trend over the past few years, Westminster boosted enrollment again, gaining about 100 students over fall 1991 for a total of 2,240 students.
President Charles Dick said that number still places enrollment below the 2,500-student capacity outlined in the college's master plan for the present campus, 1840 S. 1300 East.
While the school appears to be landlocked at its present site, expansion could occur if Westminster decided to use its stadium property for classroom buildings or acquired private residences west of the campus, the president said.
Dick said such possibilities have been discussed, but there are no acquisition plans at this time.
Westminster's current enrollment is about double what it was a decade ago when Westminster emerged from years of financial woes.
The president attributes Westminster's enrollment boom to an improvement in the academic program, quality faculty, a successful fund-raising program and a major renovation and building program.
Additionally, he said, U.S. News and World Report ranked Westminster among the nation's top 25 regional liberal arts colleges in 1988 - a tribute that may have attracted some students.
Westminster's tuition is $3,780 per semester.
The 106-year-old LDS Business College, 411 E. South Temple, has room for more students and is actively pursuing them.
Starting last week, LDS Business College began broadcasting TV ads. The first ones appeared before and after the BYU-UTEP football game. Officials at the two-year college hope to use an advertising campaign to clear up misconceptions about the school.
The ads will attempt to dispel mistaken impressions that LDS Business College is only a secretarial school; that its enrollment has been capped similarly to its sister institution, BYU; and that students have to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to attend, said Linda Palmer, executive assistant to the president.
She said the school has a business emphasis but its associate degree in science and its general education classes are transferable to a four-year college or university.
The college's enrollment ceiling, set by the board of trustees, is 1,500 students. Enrollment for fall quarter, which begins Sept. 28, should be around 800 students, she said.
Although the school is part of the LDS Church's higher-education system, students do not have to be LDS, but they must follow church standards of dress and behavior, Palmer said.
However, unlike other church schools, non-LDS students do not pay a higher tuition, she said. Tuition for a full load of 12 to 20 credit hours is $575 per quarter.