OGDEN, Utah – For the third year in a row, Weber State University’s enrollment has set a new milestone, topping 24,000 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 24,126 students. That’s an increase of 795 students, or 3.41 percent, in comparison with fall semester 2009. Since fall 2005, WSU has experienced an enrollment increase of 31.6 percent.
The university’s full-time equivalent figures for fall semester are up nearly 6 percent compared to the same time last year. WSU’s budget-related FTE rose by 739, a 5.7 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.”
The number of non-traditional students attending WSU grew significantly this year, including an 11 percent increase in enrollment among students ages 30-49. Non-traditional students now make up one third of total enrollment.
“We offer classes at flexible times and various locations in order to meet the needs of non-traditional students,” Vaughan said. He noted that WSU Online and evening program options have continued to attract a greater number of students.
Increased demand also is being reported in on-campus housing. The university’s residence halls are accommodating an all-time high 774 students this fall, the third year in a row housing has been at capacity.
Vaughan said the record enrollment is taxing available resources. Nearly all English composition classes were full fall term, and the university was not in a position to offer additional sections due to budget constraints.
“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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