OGDEN, Utah - One year after establishing a record high in enrollment, Weber State University has set a new milestone, topping 23,000 students for the first time.
As of the third week of fall semester, when the state institutions report their enrollment figures to the Utah System of Higher Education, WSU had a headcount of 23,331 students. That's an increase of more than 1,650 students, or 7.65 percent, in comparison with fall semester 2008. Since fall 2007, WSU has experienced an enrollment increase of 27 percent.
The university's full-time equivalent figures for fall semester are up more than 10 percent compared to the same time last year. WSU's budget-related FTE rose by 1,211, a 10.3 percent increase. Full-time equivalent is calculated by taking the total number of credit hours for all students and dividing by 15, the average number of credit hours for a full-time student.
University officials attribute the enrollment growth to multiple factors, most notably the ongoing economic downturn.
"Historically, those employees with dated skills are among the first to be laid off," said WSU Provost Michael Vaughan. "Weber State is committed to helping these individuals retool and get back into the work force. A well-trained, educated work force will play a key role in Utah's economic recovery."
Two areas that have grown significantly in recent years continue to attract more students. Enrollment in WSU's eight graduate programs is up 26 percent. Online enrollment has increased by 13 percent.
Vaughan also noted a jump in international students, which climbed from 473 students in 2008 to 600 students this fall.
The strong enrollment numbers are the latest in a string of data that indicate increased interest in WSU. Full-time equivalent enrollment for summer session 2009 was up, and the university's residence halls are at full capacity for the third year in a row.
"People know that we offer a quality, personalized educational experience that fits their busy schedules," said Vaughan. "That's a major selling point for our students."
"Given these difficult economic times, the fact that we're able to accommodate this magnitude of growth is a testament to the commitment of our faculty and staff," said President Ann Millner. "Our faculty and staff continue to demonstrate their dedication to serving our students and providing exceptional learning opportunities for them."
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