SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Across the Beehive State, colleges and universities are reporting enrollment numbers of students are increasing, with some colleges reaching record highs of concurrently enrolled students.
The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) released its annual enrollment numbers on Tuesday morning, which revealed there were nearly 4,000 more degree-seekers than last year, a 1.8% increase. Overall, Utah Valley University boasts the largest student body with over 44,000 concurrently enrolled. Southern Utah University had the largest percentage of growth, however, with a 4.9% growth in students.
Both UVU and SUU said the student enrollment numbers were “record highs” for their schools.
“We are excited for this steady growth and will continue to elevate SUU’s profile as a high-quality public university in the state,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “Students are choosing SUU for our commitment to access, affordability, academic programs and most of all the student-centric experience where we offer small class sizes and educators who are invested in mentoring our students for their future careers.”
“Not only are we attracting new students, we are also retaining our existing students at a higher rate,” said UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez in a press release. “We offer an accessible, affordable, and relevant education with a focus on engaged learning that leads to employment after graduation.”
Weber State University said it also reached a record high of over 30,000 students enrolled at its school, which it said defies the national trend of declining college enrollment. WSU specifically said its Hispanic and Latino student body reached an all-time high , which Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiatives Executive Director Yudi Lewis said she found encouraging.
“We’re intentionally streamlining services and resources to provide access to the Hispanic and Latino population in our region, and that’s going to benefit every student and will have positive impacts on Utah’s economic development,” said Lewis. “Reaching that 15% will better reflect Utah’s Hispanic and Latino population, which is also 15%.”
The University of Utah, which has over 35,000 concurrently enrolled students, saw an increase of 1.7%.
The latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows there has been a steady decrease in college enrollment nationwide with numbers dropping year after year since 2019. Enrollment did see a small bump of about .5%, however, in spring 2023.
“A growing number of younger students, primarily dual enrolled high school students and freshmen, contributed to the uptick in community college enrollment,” reported the NSCRC. “Undergraduates at public and private nonprofit four-year institutions are still declining but at slower rates.”
Only one publicly operated school in Utah saw a decline, according to USHE. Snow College saw a drop of 8% in its student body, with just over 5,500 students enrolled for the 2023 fall semester.