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Old Posted Oct 23, 2006, 12:48 PM
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UVSC enrollment still rising

By Laura Hancock and Tiffany Erickson
Deseret Morning News
OREM — What goes up must come down.
Except at Utah Valley State College, where enrollment continues to rise, even if just in small amounts.
Fall semester figures released Tuesday by Utah's System of Higher Education show UVSC saw an increase in the total number of students at the school and a jump in those taking a full load of classes.
UVSC joined Southern Utah University and Snow College as the taxpayer-supported colleges that enjoyed enrollment increases this semester.
The other taxpayer-funded schools in Utah's higher-education system — the University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Dixie State College, the College of Eastern Utah and Salt Lake Community College — saw a drop in the number of students who are taking college-credit courses.
"Although we are experiencing a small decline in the number of students enrolling in college, it is concerning when you think of the potential impact it will have on the lives of individuals," Richard Kendell, Utah's higher education commissioner, said in a statement. "Postsecondary education provides workforce training and increased income potential for students — it produces self-sustaining adults who, in turn, can support a family."
Kendell wants to see the enrollment grow at least a half percent each year.
At UVSC, in all, 20,262 students are taking at least one class at the Orem-based college, an increase of 426 students over last year at this time, according to Tuesday's enrollment report. The number of full-time students is 13,877, an increase of 146 students over fall semester 2005.
Utah Valley officials say enrollment figures may not have grown as much as previous years because of changes to the concurrent enrollment program, which allows high school students to enroll in college classes.

A new statewide requirement says high school students must finish certain prerequisite courses before enrolling in the college classes, UVSC spokeswoman Megan Laurie said.
However, UVSC officials are relishing in the 1 percent increase in the number of students taking a full course load.
"Our revenue is based on our tuition dollars," Laurie said.
That means the school will have a larger budget this year because of additional students paying for courses.
University of Utah President Michael Young said the numbers come as a pleasant surprise.
He said the trend is that enrollments increase when the economy lags and decrease when it thrives.
"I just would have thought, given how very robust the economy is, the (decreases) would be much deeper," Young said. "Right now there are hundreds of unfilled jobs with moderately attractive salaries for high school graduates."
He said the enrollment dip's small size was a ringing endorsement across the state "that, at the end of the day, the people of the state still really understand the value of higher education and have quite a commitment to it."
Young attributed the enrollment drop at the U. to transfer students and fifth-year seniors — students often pursuing a second bachelor's degree.
Last year, the U. raised admission standards, but the freshman class is the same size as last year's and the head count in graduate programs has increased about 3 percent.
Young said the decrease in transfer students was most pronounced in those coming from Salt Lake Community College but said administrators don't know why at this point.
Nonetheless, Young said, the U. is not looking for growth.
"We are pretty committed to a quality of education that requires a certain intensity and student-teacher ratio ... (and) as an institution have not been chasing enrollment," Young said.
"In this economy — with enrollments with such a modest decline — it really is quite a tribute to the quality of education that the U. provides and the general recognition around the state of a quality education and the importance of that, both to the individual and society."
But that is not to say U. leaders aren't concerned about more students going to college in Utah.
Young said the state has dropped from about seventh in the nation in the percentage of people between the ages of 25 and 40 holding bachelor's degrees to about 21st in the nation.
"That's a pretty scary statistic, so from our perspective the participation rate remains a very significant issue and we would like to see that increase dramatically," Young said.
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