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College enrollment rises in Utah

Except for a very slight dip in Salt Lake Community College's head count,winter quarter enrollment was up at Utah's state-run colleges and universities.

Enrollment at the state's largest institutions - the University of Utah and Utah State University - was higher than a year ago.Head count at the U. was 24,864, or a full-time equivalent student body of 19,891, up 390 from a year ago.

At Utah State, enrollment was up 5 percent over a year ago. USU's head count was 20,758, with 15,560 taking at least 12 credit hours to be considered full-time students. Most of the growth was experienced on the Logan campus, with extension sites maintaining similar enrollment from a year ago.

SLCC's head count was 18,558 for the winter quarter, down 54 students from a year ago. Full-time equivalencies, however, increased to 12,040 from 11,711 a year ago.

Southern Utah University posted the highest enrollment growth statewide, up 13 percent from a year ago. Head count at the Cedar City school climbed to 6,126 students. Some 5,125 are studying at least 12 credit hours.

"Interest in southern Utah continues to grow," said SUU admissions director Dale Orton. "We see a consistent increase each quarter."

Weber State University and Dixie Community College each posted 8 percent gains. Weber's head count was 14,796 students or a full-time equivalency of 10,066 students.

The Ogden school has been slowly chipping away at a $1.7 million shortfall incurred when the Legislature instituted a funding formula that allocates funds based on enrollment. Weber's enrollments were lower than legislative targets. The shortfall also was due to lower tuition revenues.

Weber's enrollment has climbed the past three quarters. Last fall, WSU experienced a 21 percent increase in its freshman class.

"Now all we have to do is work on retaining them and our enrollment next quarter, when the school changes to the semester system, might continue to be on the positive side," said WSU President Paul Thompson.

Next fall, each of the state's colleges and universities will observe semester schedules.

Presently, only Utah Valley State College has made the conversion. Some college officials attribute the enrollment increases to students attempting to finish their degrees or class sequences before the change occurs.

Historically, states that have converted to semester calendars from quarters have experienced short-term enrollment decreases, Utah higher education officials say.

In southern Utah, 4,266 students attend the St. George community college, with 3,184 attending full-time.

Utah Valley State College, arguably one of the fastest growing institutions statewide, posted a preliminary head count of 13,142 students, or a full-time equivalent of 9,038. UVSC's figures will not be confirmed until a computer glitch is repaired later this week.

Both Snow College and the College of Eastern Utah serve larger student bodies for the winter quarter.

At Snow College in Ephraim, the head count of 3,038 is up 386 from last winter quarter. The number of full-time students is up 333 from last year to 2,787.

CEU registrar Jan Young said 2,635 students attend the Price school. Students taking full-time class loads number 1,822, up about 40 from a year ago.