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UVU Crests 30,000 Students, Adds Nearly 4,000 Students This Year

13 October 2010 13 Comments

October 13, 2010

For more information: Chris Taylor, (801) 863-8484
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert, (801) 863-6807
Written by: Brad Plothow, (801) 863-7149

Record growth continues at Utah Valley University. Enrollment is up at UVU for the 12th consecutive semester, this time pushing the University’s total headcount to 32,670 and the budget-related full-time equivalent (FTE) to 19,010. This marks the first time UVU has crested the 30,000 mark in total headcount.

“Utah Valley University’s growth continues to be very impressive. Without question UVU plays a critical role within the system in terms of providing access at all levels of higher education to the citizens of our state, particularly in Utah County,” said USHE Commissioner William A. Sederburg. “The numbers certainly bear that out. We’re thrilled that an increasing number are participating in higher education, not only at UVU but throughout the state.”

This growth represents nearly 50 percent of all Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) total headcount growth this year. UVU also continues to be the largest provider of undergraduate university education in terms of headcount and continues to educate more Utahns than any other university.

UVU added 3,905 students compared to the same time last year, or an increase of about 13.5 percent in total headcount. Over the past three years alone, UVU’s total enrollment has grown by about 38 percent, or roughly 9,000 students. UVU’s largest categorical increase was in continuing students this year (up nearly 12 percent, or 1,887 students, over last year), with junior and senior students accounting for the largest portion of that growth. Senior and junior students increased by 16 percent and 10.8 percent respectively. In addition, new students coming to UVU rose by 12 percent (464 more new students this year).  Student minority populations are also on the rise, with the largest growth in Hispanic students (up 310 students, or 17 percent) and African-American students (an increase of 90 students, or 37 percent). In addition, enrollment of female students is up more than 14 percent.

“The jump in raw enrollment numbers of both new and continuing students is evidence of increasing satisfaction with the educational experience our students are receiving,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland.  “Many of the qualities that have made UVU popular with students over the years such as personalized, quality instruction and small class sizes persist at the University, even with the enrollment surge.”

UVU’s record enrollment increase comes in spite of first-time hard deadlines for applications and enrollment this fall. In anticipation of continued enrollment increases, UVU officials worked to open as many sections as possible by identifying any potential efficiency. UVU is currently accommodating record enrollment growth despite operating with the fewest square feet per student and the least amount of per-student funding among all the state’s public universities.

“At the same time our enrollment has surged, our budget — which is already among the leanest in the state — has been cut. The fact that we have been able to serve so many new students during this difficult economic time without significantly affecting the quality of the education our students receive is a tribute to our wonderful faculty, staff and administrators,” Holland said.

Holland stressed, however, that UVU is hitting its limit on how many students it can adequately educate without receiving more resources from both state and private sources.

“It is astounding to think that our enrollment has grown by 9,000 students in three years,” he said.  “We are running out of classroom space, and our already-thin resources are being stretched nearly to the limit. We simply cannot continue to grow like this without securing more resources.”

Holland stressed that UVU is aggressively pursuing alternative educational delivery methods to allow more students the opportunity to receive an education. In fact, the use of technologies such as online classes and distance education classes, along with more efficient use of current space, allowed UVU to manage such rapid growth this year. The University plans to continue expanding those options, as well as pursue hybrid classes and the addition of satellite locations as it prepares for continuing enrollment increases.

Holland also emphasized that the growth has come, in part, because of UVU’s unique educational mission for the region.

“These fall numbers reflect UVU’s evolved role as a destination for complete academic programs ranging from career training to select graduate programs, with an emphasis on undergraduate education,” Holland said. “I think many will be surprised to know just how big UVU has become. The economy is a factor in our growth, but so is UVU’s relatively new position as a quality full-service university.”

UVU’s role as a point of access is likely to only increase in coming years, as population growth is projected to increase while the state tries to increase higher education participation rates that have been trending the wrong way over the past decade or so.

“It’s important to understand that UVU’s mission is to be a point of access to higher education,” Holland said. “Given that unique mission and the demographic trends in this state, we will continue to grow as we provide opportunities to students who want the benefit of an excellent university education.”

UVU’s place among the state’s largest institutions of higher learning is especially remarkable given the University’s humble past. The institution began as a tiny vocational school, with only a few hundred students gathering on the old Provo fairgrounds to learn vocational skills during World War II. In the seven decades since, UVU has evolved to serve the changing needs of the region as a technical school, community college, state college, and now as a comprehensive regional teaching university.

“UVU’s historical path is as unique as any institution in the nation,” Holland said. “Here we have a place that has been absolutely focused on providing for the region’s educational needs, and it has adapted with incredible nimbleness to stay ahead of the curve. While there won’t be any name changes in UVU’s future, it’s safe to say that this institution will always be focused on providing what’s most relevant to the region in terms of education, culture and economic development.”

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  • B said:

    In an effort to keep up with the growing enrollment, it would be wonderful if something could be done with the parking issue on campus. When the new library was built, why was a parking garage not included underneath? Why would a new track be built in a place where parking could have been extended? It is a complete headache and disaster trying to find parking in the mornings and frankly, I feel that I have wasted money buying a parking pass when every single day this semester I have had to park at the very end of the LA parking, right across from the testing center. If I am going to have to park there every day, why should I have to pay for parking when it is basically 20 feet away from the free parking lot? It is absolutely ridiculous and something NEEDS to be done to fix this parking problem.

  • Mike Bartlett said:

    Ummm . . . does no one else seem concerned about this rapid growth? There is not nearly enough parking. There are not enough classrooms. An enormous amount of the faculty is adjuct – a result of “stretching our funding” – and barely make a living wage after teaching two to three times a normal load. While I am glad that more and more people are getting educated, is it necessary that half of the higher education growth in the state come to UVU? President Holland says “The jump in raw enrollment numbers of both new and continuing students is evidence of increasing satisfaction with the educational experience our students are receiving.” How can a student be satisfied with their educational experience if they are a new student? I submit that the rise in enrollment is largely due to aggressive advertising, not non-experienced satsifaction.
    I understand that approx. 70% of the budget comes from tuition. It seems the advertising is being done to raise enrollment and thus funds. This makes sense, but growth this rapid seems like it is simply too hard to handle. Why not divert some of those funds first to building a parking garage and classrooms? What the prase, “putting the cart before the horse,” or something like that? (And for heaven’s sake, voters, if schools had more funding they wouldn’t need to make dicisions like this.)
    To me, UVU’s strongest asset has been the amazing teachers. They are second to none. However, the average student is also going to remember that they could not park even after paying to do so, and hiking across campus to obscure locations because of the lack of classrooms.

  • Marketing & Communications said:

    In planning for the University, a holistic view needs to be maintained to develop an institution which is responsive to all elements of the region and state. In the development of the master plan, we try to balance the need for buildings, parking, and green space in the development of the campus. The master plan takes into account the projected amount of students and the need to add parking structures to the campus. In the mean time, the campus has developed a number of ways that students can access the campus. As we monitor campus, we consistently have approximately 500 empty student parking spaces and 150 employees spaces which are available. Unfortunately we cannot develop enough parking next to the building doors so every student can park as close as they would like. In response the institution has developed a campus shuttle system which provides access to all parts of campus. The institution also provides a UTA Bus pass for $20 per year which provides transportation throughout the Wasatch Front. Clearly, the added growth to the institution means that we all must display a greater amount of patience and allow a little more time to reach our intended destinations.

  • SS said:

    Parking is going to be an issue all the time at any university — the laws physics dictate this.
    What I’d like to see addressed are the staffing issues. With numbers climbing every year, why are there not more staff on campus? Every department should have 2 administrative assistants as well as an asst. Department Chair if their enrollment numbers, adjunct to faculty ratio, etc., deem it necessary. This is sorely overlooked! We have more and more students, but the same amount of Administrative Assistants helping all of those new students as well as the rest of the entire campus. The Help Desks are not manned all over campus as they should be during business hours. I know that the Help Desk in the LA/P.E. hallway is rarely occupied, causing actual departments in that area to help direct students and answer unrelated questions, concerns, and inquiries that the Help Desks should be taking care of.

  • aSecondUVUcampus said:

    I bet many of you are unaware of this, but UVU owns over 100 acres of land a couple miles to the North on the other side of I-15. It’s public knowledge and can be obtained from the county recorder’s office. I believe it used to be part of Geneva Steal. Within the next 10 years I wouldn’t be surprised if UVU built a second campus using all of that land.

  • track is not a bad thing. said:

    lets not complain about a track where “parking can be installed”. That is UV’s best sports team here and serves the university a lot better than a spot for someone to park their car.

  • Anne Arendt said:

    If you are curious about our future building plans you can check out the UVU master building plan at http://www.uvu.edu/planning/master/masterplan05282010.pdf

    The current plan includes specific campus needs including: the new science building, a new student and wellness building, a performing arts facility, a new business entryway, relocation of the field house, a link to 800 South and the interchange, new parking structures, new property at Thanksgiving Point, proposed Geneva Steel property and a new building resource center. (snippet from press release http://www.uvu.edu/blogs/newsroom/2010/08/02/public-invited-to-master-plan-open-house/)

  • Dean Simmonds said:

    B.S. Engineering degrees need to become a real political issue at UVU.
    A School of “Will Not” or a School of “Will”.

    Three Parking structures close to the buildings would make us all more efficent.

  • David said:

    Since UVU is space strapped would it be feasible to build upwards and add another story or two to current campus buildings?

  • Walk said:

    Learn how to walk is all I have to say to a lot of you. It’s embarrasing how much time we spend complaining about parking, and it’s no wonder everyone is obese. For some reason we think it’s outrageous that we be expected to walk 1/4 mile to get somewhere. Seriously, go to google maps and measure the distance you are complaining about having to walk, it’s not that bad.

  • LG said:

    Growth is a good thing but there have been a lot of legitimate concerns voiced here. Parking seems to be the number one complaint, but honestly I don’t think it is even close to the number one problem. $20 for a bus pass is a great deal and I wish more people would use them. UTA doesn’t have the greatest access to neighborhoods, but if more people started taking public transportation then perhaps UTA would start offering more routes. My major concern is the sacrifice of both faculty and staff during all this growth. I can’t speak for everyone, but I am pretty sure that none of us have had a raise in the past few years, though we have all taken on more responsibilities. I think UVU does a great job taking care of its students, but not the greatest job of taking care of the faculty and staff that keep the University running. Here’s a good question, Why do we need to switch to Outlook when Groupwise (though definitely an inferior program) works just fine? It’s poor decisions like this that make me feel like my hard work is being exploited due to this poor economy.

  • growth is good said:

    When president Holland talked about “increasing satisfaction”, he was referring to the satisfaction of the current students. Word spreads quickly and prospective students hear it and therefore want to come. He wasn’t talking about the satisfaction of students who haven’t even been here; that would be silly. And I agree that the track is more important than parking spaces. Athletics are one of the strongest reasons that schools get noticed, and we have a great track and cross-country team. As a competitive division I team, they deserve a facility on campus that is close to the athletic offices and team rooms. It simply does more for the university than another acre of asphalt and concrete.

  • schools in utah county said:

    Great job UVU. I love your campus and you have an amazing staff. UVU is a great place to get your education.

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