Enrollment Continues to Rise at SUUNovember 03, 2005
Author: Dean O'Driscoll
The growth of Southern Utah University continues this fall, despite the fact that there was no growth in the number of Utah high school graduates this past summer. SUU’s student body has grown by another 187 students, after leading the state in growth this same time last year. This increase takes SUU’s enrollment to 6,859, another all-time record student body for the 108-year-old school.
The increase in headcount represents a 2.8 percent growth compared to this time last year and the enrollment report includes some very encouraging signs. For example, the increase in nonresident students is quite impressive, jumping from 561 last Fall to 788 this year--a leap of some 40 percent! SUU’s executive director of enrollment, Stephen Allen asserts, "This year's incoming class of freshmen and transfer students are one of the most academically prepared and geographically diverse groups we have ever had at SUU." Non-resident students now make up 11.5 percent of the University’s total population.
This Fall includes the largest-ever class of first-time freshmen—totaling 1,182 new additions to the SUU campus. Also, there is a significant increase within the graduate student enrollment—moving up from 291 students last year to 394 students this Fall. This 35% percent increase in graduate students is partially due to the new master’s degree program in Professional Communication that began in August.
“Some of this can be attributed to the fact that in light of what is happening with tuition around the west and around the country, we are still a great bargain in a quality higher education,” says assistant to the president, Dean O’Driscoll. “It’s also a great reflection of the expanded efforts by the Admissions Office to reach out to more areas around our western region.”
Allen adds, “Many factors played a role in our increase in enrollment, including a strong marketing campaign in key markets, quality on-campus housing, and a strategic recruitment plan.”
Notable, too, is the increase in students transferring to SUU from other higher education institutions--up 11 percent, from 575 to 639. “This also reflects well on our University,” says O’Driscoll, “because these students are leaving another institution of higher education to come here. We are obviously offering something here they like better than our competition.”
“This is fantastic news considering the challenges we’ve been faced with,” University President Steve Bennion, exclaims. “With the annual tuition increase, the temporary plateau of high school seniors in Utah and economic situation of late, this is a great accomplishment for the many people who have been working so hard to find our new students.”
Bennion continues, “There are so many people responsible for this continued success because it includes all of the faculty, staff and members of student government who promote so many programs that help retain the students we’ve had. When it comes down to it, all of our employees and students play a vital role in making this a place that people want to come to get their education.”
The increase in the FTE (full-time equivalency) enrollment is also up 2.1 percent, to 5,371 students. This is a formula that the state legislature and the state board of regents use to allocate funding to the USHE institutions.
“Quality academic preparation begins with excellent faculty and we have never had a shortage of that at SUU,” adds Provoat Harraf. “Personal attention has always been a hallmark of the institution and our staff and faculty set great examples in excellent customer service. I think that message is getting out to more young people who care about the personalization of their higher education.”