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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- University of Utah President Bernie Machen, contending budget cuts are jeopardizing the university's education mission, is considering freezing enrollment next fall.
Over the past two years, lawmakers have failed to fully fund new students, leaving a $28 million hole.
"The lack of funding is beginning to erode the quality of stuff we're doing," Machen said. And "it's irresponsible to keep pushing it off on students" who are paying more and getting less.
He was quoted in a copyright story in The Salt Lake Tribune.
Students will pay about $3,361 a year starting next fall, up $318 from this year.
Machen also has imposed a hiring freeze and cut jobs, class sections and student services.
If the economy doesn't rebound soon, Machen may cap enrollment at the current 28,369 though he prefers the term "freeze" because "it implies there could be a thaw."
The university's enrollment grew by 2,300 students this year.
Machen said transfer students probably will be the most affected.
The proposed enrollment freeze also could place more pressure on other schools, especially Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley State College.
No one wants to talk about caps at community colleges that are open to everyone, said SLCC President Lynn Cundiff. "But we're already turning away students because they can't get the classes they need."
Kermit Hall, president of Utah State University, is not freezing enrollment but has boosted admissions standards.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)