The Crystal Clear Look at SUU’s ENROLLMENT RECORD

Published: October 16, 2006 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Sometimes important information gets lost in bureaucratic red tape, especially when you start throwing numbers around. This is the case with the announcement of Southern Utah University’s enrollment reports last week.

Although both budget-related numbers reported to the media from the Commissioner’s Office a week ago are very important, they fail to recognize the fact that the total enrollment at SUU this Fall is at a new record level of 7,029 students. It is the first time enrollment at the Cedar City School has surpassed the 7,000 benchmark and represents another important step in the long-range plans of the University.

“It’s important to have this number be known because the formulas the state uses to figure the budget-related enrollments are difficult for any of us to understand,” says spokesperson Dean O’Driscoll. “The total count of students on campus is the one that the vast majority of the population has come to know and since in previous years we’ve been talking about approaching 7,000, it is important to let the public know we made it.”

The total enrollment at SUU has grown by nearly 1,000 students (981) in just the last three years. “We have a lot of challenges in front of us to make our goal of 9,000 by 2011,” says O’Driscoll, “but we are making great progress in recruiting and retaining students. And, we are leading the state in enrollment growth while we are doing it.”

The headcount increase at SUU in the last three years is more than 16 percent, and even the budget-related increase is close to 12 percent. This has all taken place in an environment where the Utah System of Higher Education student population has decreased three percent.

“It’s a significant accomplishment,” notes interim President Gregory Stauffer. “There has been a lot of effort by a lot of people on campus to make this milestone, and to continue to make the biggest strides in the state in enrollment growth.”

A big part of the reason for the increase is a record-setting new freshman class size of 1,358 students. This is a tremendous jump of 15 percent from the 2005 freshman class, and marks the fourth straight year of significant increases in the size of SUU’s incoming class. The freshman class has grown by 37 percent since the Fall of 2002.

“Although the budget-related numbers are important for funding issues with the state, the actual count of students taking classes is also important to the campus and local communities,” O’Driscoll notes. “Each student, regardless of how they fit into or are excluded from funding formulas, spends money on books, rent, food, gas, and other necessities and entertainment.”

Provost Abe Harraf adds, “The tuition dollars from each student also provide crucial funding for new academic programs and faculty. The increased collection of tuition also allows for additional money to be funneled into student scholarships.”

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