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Utah colleges, universities report 2.24% enrollment increase

People walk on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Aug. 27. Enrollment at Utah's public colleges and universities overall increased 2.24% this year over last year. The U. reported a 4.18% increase. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's public colleges and universities saw a 2.24% increase this year over last year with a total of 211,954 students enrolled, the Utah System of Higher Education announced Monday.

"We've come out of a challenging year, and I am pleased that enrollments have increased overall," said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, commissioner of Higher Education, in a statement.

"It is imperative that we continue to work with students statewide to access and complete higher education to provide a qualified workforce, and beyond that, to achieve continued individual and statewide success," Woolstenhulme said.

The University of Utah celebrated its largest overall enrollment numbers, as well as its largest freshman class which increased 19.6% over last year.

"This is an incredible and exciting milestone for the University of Utah," President Taylor Randall said in a statement. "It speaks to the value and quality we offer and reflects our solid reputation as one of the nation's top public research universities. I am pleased to welcome all our students — new and continuing —and look forward to seeing all they will accomplish at the U."

Among the increases, the U. also enrolled "historically high numbers of domestic students of color, international students and both in-state and out-of-state students," school officials said.

A breakdown of each institution's enrollment numbers:

  • Dixie State University: 12,266, 1.85% increase
  • Southern Utah University: 13,611, 8.18% increase
  • University of Utah: 34,462, 4.18% increase
  • Utah State University: 27,426, 0.96% decrease
  • Utah Valley University: 41,262, 0.81% increase
  • Weber State University: 29,744, 0.50% increase
  • Bridgerland Technical College: 2,964, 8.29% increase
  • Davis Technical College: 3,916, 5.16% decrease
  • Dixie Technical College: 1,138, 14.49% increase
  • Mountainland Technical College: 3,758, 11.22% increase
  • Ogden-Weber Technical College: 4,035, 11.68% increase
  • Salt Lake Community College: 27,225, 0.25% decrease
  • Snow College: 6,106, 5.28% increase
  • Southwest Technical College: 1,297, 20.65% increase
  • Tooele Technical College: 810, 13.45% increase
  • Uintah Basin Technical College: 1,934, 17.71% increase

Despite dealing with housing shortages ahead of the fall semester, Southern Utah University also saw a record enrollment total — and celebrated outpacing other universities in growth this year.

"These growth figures represent the hard work of a dedicated team at SUU. Faculty, staff, administration and students all have a hand in our strategic growth plan," SUU interim President Mindy Benson said in a statement.

People walk on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City on April 7. Enrollment up 8.18% at SUU, outpacing other universities in growth this year.
People walk on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City on April 7. Enrollment up 8.18% at SUU, outpacing other universities in growth this year. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"This past year has been especially challenging because of the ongoing impact of COVID and a housing shortage in Cedar City and throughout the state. To achieve this level of growth is really a testament to our university community," Benson added.

University leaders noted the majority of the growth was due to a 42% increase in the university's online degree program, and online students now represent nearly 6% of the total student body.

Utah Valley University noted its headcount remained steady this year with a slight increase over 2020. Earlier this year, members of the school's largest graduating class received their degrees.

"UVU continues to be a place where students from all walks of life can achieve their academic goals and positively contribute to our state," said UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez. "We believe every individual has unlimited potential and deserves the transforming benefits of a high-quality education."

The university's fall enrollment included "the highest number of female students and Black and African American students in its history," officials said.

Dixie State University officials noted the school saw an increase in enrollment for the sixth year in a row. The third-week fall enrollment marked a 44.25% increase since fall 2015, which officials said demonstrates "the longevity and sustainability of the university's growth."

"We are thrilled that more students than ever before are recognizing the value a Dixie State University education offers," DSU President Richard "Biff" Williams said in a prepared statement. "Dixie State has been working hard to develop a high-quality comprehensive polytechnic educational experience that prepares our students to graduate career ready."

DSU leaders also noted that women account for 58% of the student population, and 21% of students come from diverse populations.

Weber State University also touted increased diversity this year. The concurrent enrollment courses increased 6.4%, with the number of students who self-identify as Black, Asian, American Indian or Pacific Islander increasing by 9.8%, according to university officials.

"Despite the pressures of an ongoing pandemic, students are still seeking higher education for the long-term benefits it brings," said WSU Provost Ravi Krovi said in a statement. "What we are especially pleased about is that not only are students continuing to enroll but our retention rates are also climbing. It's great to help Wildcats continue through to graduation."

Headcounts at degree-granting institutions for fall enrollment and full-time enrollment are measured at the third week of the fall semester, while technical college enrollment and headcounts are measured at the end of the fiscal quarter, officials said.

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