SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Enrollment at Utah's public colleges is down slightly—roughly 1.5 percent from fall 2011, according to a report by the Utah System of Higher Education.
The schools with declining enrollment this year include Utah State, Utah Valley University, Salt Lake Community College and Dixie State College.
“I see this as a bit of a pause, it's not something we would like to like to see continued year after year,” said Dave Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education.
But the drop might not be all bad. Buhler says it may be due to an improving economy and job market. “We have some part-time students that have probably gone back into the job market with the approving economy. There are a lot of variables,” he said. “Some of our universities have raised admissions standards.”
But there are some schools this fall seeing a slight uptick in numbers. Southern Utah University, Snow College, Weber State and the University of Utah all welcomed more students to campus.
A U of U spokesperson says the school's two percent increase in enrollment is what was anticipated.
“We've been in the Pac-12 now for over a year so we're starting to see more students come in from out of the area and understand what we have to offer here which is an amazing experience at incredible price compared to our competitors here in the Pac-12,” said Keith Sterling, Communications Director.
The biggest growth for fall 2012 is at Weber State which beat its own pervious record-- passing 26,000 students for the first time in its history.