Utah higher ed, DSC: Slight enrollment declines

ST. GEORGE – The Utah System of Higher Education released its 2012 fall third-week enrollment numbers, with an announcement Friday that the number of students attending Utah’s colleges and universities has for the most part held steady.

Overall, the USHE reported a .03 percent decrease in its full-time equivalent (FTE defined at close of this article) student count – specifically, a total of 38 FTE – and a 1.56 percent decrease in overall headcount. This marked the first time since 2008 that there was not a net increase in enrollment across the Utah system.

In all, four of the eight USHE institutions saw increases between 1.9 and 3 percent, while the other four saw decreases ranging from 1.2  to 3.1 percent.

Dixie State College of Utah

For the first time since the fall of 2008, Dixie State College of Utah officials did not report an increase in the institution’s enrollment numbers. In all, DSC posted a 2.45 percent decrease in total headcount with 8,863 students, 223 students fewer than last year’s total of 9,086 – which marked the first time DSC had topped the 9,000-plus headcount plateau in DSC’s history.

Prior to this fall, Dixie State saw an unprecedented 52.9 percent increase in its total headcount over a five-year period between the 2007-08 and the 2011-12 academic years. Despite the minor drop in enrollment this fall, DSC’s enrollment is still more than 45 percent higher than what it was in 2008.

Dixie also saw a slight dip in its fall full-time equivalency* enrollment: It decreased by .82 percent with 6,539 students (i.e. 54 fewer students), compared to 6,593 students this time last year. By comparison, the College’s Budget Related FTE fell slightly at nearly 1.7 percent overall with 6,287 students, down just 108 students from last year’s total of 6,395.

DSC officials attribute the decline in enrollment to a few factors:

• Dixie’s current student housing constraints;

• a record number graduated in four-year and two-year programs last year;

• a significant number of students lost their eligibility for financial aid and scholarship opportunities;

• a number of students transferred to other institutions to enroll in programs currently not offered at DSC; and

• a number of students left to serve on missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

DSC reported increases in some areas:

• First-time freshmen enrolling straight out of high school – 1,470, a 4 percent increase;

• first-time undergrad students with full-time equivalency – 1,687, a 2 percent increase;

• upper division enrollment – 2,086 students, a 4 percent increase;

• minority student enrollment – a total of 1,258, 58 more than last year, a 4.8 percent increase; and

• international enrollment – 113 students from 32 different countries, a 52 percent increase.

“We have seen a repeated pattern of growth since 2008 to now in our freshman and international student enrollment,” said DSC Vice President of Student Services Frank B. Lojko. “Despite our slight drop this fall, we still remain committed to providing quality instruction and one-on-one student interaction with faculty and staff, which is a major component of our customer service pledge to our students.”

Established in 1911 and built on the site of the first pioneer encampment in St. George, Dixie State College of Utah strives to help students to define, shape and achieve educational and life goals. Dixie State College is dedicated to providing personalized and excellent teaching in a learning environment where all students can become passionate about their individual educational endeavors.

In 2005, the Board of Regents approved a change in mission for Dixie State College, allowing the college to begin offering bachelor’s degrees in “core” or “foundational” areas consistent with four-year colleges. DSC now offers nearly 40 baccalaureate programs in highly sought-after areas and is continually adding more degree programs to address the demand of students. It also continues to function as a comprehensive community college, offering associate degree and certificate programs.
DSC’s new mission will pave the way to more and more bachelor’s degrees in the coming years.

For more information

Visit the college’s website for a current list of programs.

*One full-time equivalent, or FTE, is defined as any combination of 15 units of credit enrolled in by one or more students. For example, if a student is taking 15 credit hours, that equals one FTE. If 15 students take one credit, that equals one FTE as well.


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