Overall Enrollment at Public Colleges and Universities Dips Slightly for Fall Semester

(KCPW News) Since 2008, Utah’s public colleges and universities have seen record enrollment increases, averaging about 18 percent. But this year paints a different picture. Pam Silberman with the Utah System of Higher Education says overall enrollment for this fall semester saw a slight decrease.

“You know we see this kind of as a pause. But really the net change is very small. If you look at FTE, which is the full-time equivalent enrollment, you’re talking about less than one half of one percent decrease,” she explains.

The state says the enrollment dip is nothing to be alarmed about, and can be attributed to several things.

“We are starting to see improvements in the economy and so we know that when there is a recession, a lot of people return to school for retraining. But as the economy improves some of those folks now have gone back into the workforce full time,” she says. “The other reason for the change that we see at some of our institutions is that they’ve made changes in terms of admissions standards.”

The three schools with the sharpest declines were Salt Lake Community College, which went down more than 3 percent, Utah Valley University, and Dixie State College. Meanwhile, Southern Utah University, Weber State and the University of Utah each saw increases of about 3 percent.