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