SUU Experiences Double-Digit Growth in Spring Semester

Published: February 25, 2021 | Author: David Bishop | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU Experiences Double-Digit Enrollment Growth in Spring SemesterDespite the impact of COVID-19 on higher education across the country, Southern Utah University continues to increase student enrollment. Spring 2021 enrollment jumped 16.1% compared to the same period last year. According to enrollment data based on the third week of the spring semester, SUU has 11,819 students. That number is expected to increase by the end of the current semester anticipating enrollment growth for the second session of spring.

“Double-digit growth doesn’t happen by accident,” said SUU President Scott L Wyatt. “We attribute this to a number of factors but the most important is the unified effort on our campus to give students the most positive experience possible. I thank our faculty and staff for their unwavering efforts.”

In the 2020 fall semester, SUU led the entire Utah System of Higher Education in both percentage growth and overall student growth.

SUU has placed an emphasis on retaining current students. Those retention efforts have increased by nearly 16% over the past five years.

“Here at SUU, we are laser-focused on helping our students progress from semester to semester with the ultimate goal of graduating,” said Dr. Jared Tippets, SUU vice president for student affairs. “We strive to put students first in all that we do, both in and out of the classroom. We believe this high-touch approach by our faculty, staff, and student mentors has led to these record-high retention and graduation rates.”

SUU’s 338 full-time faculty members played a key role in the enrollment increase not just in their efforts to retain current students but in the recruitment process as well.

“The efforts of faculty in both recruitment and retention cannot be overstated. When we ask our recruitment colleagues about the role of faculty in this effort they are eager to point out how impactful faculty are, especially during on-campus visits,” said SUU Faculty Senate President Dr. Bill Heyborne. “When prospective students have the opportunity to interact with a faculty member their excitement about SUU increases substantially. We also know that the single greatest predictor of student retention is a personal connection with an SUU faculty or staff member. Faculty have some of the greatest opportunities to connect with students, whether in the classroom or as part of an out-of-class learning experience like an art studio, science lab, or music studio. When faculty and students connect, both learning and retention increase. It's a win-win for students and the institution.”

SUU Online saw significant enrollment growth, increasing 224% from Spring 2020 to 2021. That represents nearly 1,300 students enrolled in the university’s online degree program.

“Obviously, COVID-19 has posed some unique challenges for enrollment management leaders in universities across the country,” said Dr. Steve Meredith, assistant vice president of enrollment management for graduate and online programs. “In the years just prior to the outbreak, SUU’s senior administration dedicated considerable resources to building capacity and ensuring continuing quality in its online programs. This investment has paid off in a significant way during the pandemic, as online enrollment growth has become an important contributing factor in the overall growth of the university. While there will likely be some period of readjustment as the world returns to normal, we anticipate that SUU’s online programs will continue to be an important enrollment driver for the university.”

For the past five years, SUU has led the growth in the state system and projections show that trend continuing for the next decade.

Tags: Campus

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication