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UVU Tops 33,000 Students, Is Now Utah’s Largest Public Institution Of Higher Education

12 October 2011 10 Comments

October 12, 2011
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Brad Plothow (801) 863-7149

With enrollment cresting 33,000 for the first time, Utah Valley University is now the largest institution in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) in terms of total headcount. Enrollment is up at UVU for the 14th consecutive semester, this time pushing the University’s headcount to 33,395. UVU’s budget-related full-time equivalent moved to 19,705, an increase of nearly 4 percent, positioning the institution near the top of the state in that category. UVU has grown by nearly 10,000 students since 2007, the institution’s final year as a state college before moving to university status.

“UVU’s continued growth is a reflection of the institution’s increased attractiveness to students from a variety of backgrounds,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland. “In the past year, the campus community has rallied around the vision that UVU will retain its historical policy of open admission even as the University enhances academic rigor and university-level expectations. This role is vitally important to the state and the students we serve, but we’re running out of headroom and need additional resources to accommodate growth.”

UVU added 725 students compared to the same time last year, an increase of more than 2 percent. In addition to new students, UVU’s enrollment growth was bolstered by an uptick in continuing students, which increased by 5.5 percent over last year. Students from minority populations are also up at UVU. Enrollment of Hawaiian native students is up 53 percent, Alaskan natives up 20 percent, Hispanics up 16 percent, African Americans up 12 percent and Asians up 3 percent.

UVU educates more Utahns than any other university and is one of the largest open-admission universities in the nation. The institution’s growth is especially remarkable considering its humble roots as a vocational school 70 years ago. In the ensuing decades, UVU has evolved into a technical school, community college and state college before becoming a teaching-focused university in 2008. UVU’s growth curve has become more dramatic in recent years.

“Few institutions in the history of U.S. higher education have been asked to evolve like UVU,” Holland said. “This region has needed UVU to offer more in seemingly every generation, and the institution has always delivered. While we’ve arrived at our final name change, UVU will continue to adapt to accommodate the needs of the day. In every sense, UVU has become an agile, efficient and indispensible resource in one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the nation.”

UVU’s growth might have been even more pronounced this fall if not for resource constraints. The institution had more than 6,000 students who were admitted but not enrolled, and one factor is that UVU is running out of physical space and faculty to keep up with record demand. The UVU administration has been working feverishly to identify any new efficiencies and open additional sections, but those efforts may be reaching the limits of their effectiveness.

“Our historical mission and continued state mandate is to offer excellent higher education on a large scale,” Holland said. “We have been able to retain our open-admission policy while bolstering academic quality because this institution is a model of efficiency, even in the face of declining tax fund support, but there are limits to what we can do. The state is trying to improve higher education participation rates that have gone the wrong direction while also staying ahead of population growth. Institutions like UVU play a critical role in that plan, but we can only do so much without additional facilities and faculty.

“If we’re serious about staying competitive as a state, we need to do everything we can to prepare people for the professional, civic and cultural opportunities of an increasingly complex global community. Higher education is a tremendous resource to that end.”


About UVU

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to nearly 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.

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  • CathrynE said:

    too many students… not enough space for parking. period. the. end.

  • JAKE said:

    33000 students and 4000 new students with 200 new parking spaces at a university that is predominately commuting students and didnt have enough parking 5 years ago when it was a State college and had half that many students. This is not like BYU where most students live with in walking distance from the school so almost all 33000 students must drive. This is not the only problem with space in at UVU. They spend millions of dollars on new buildings like the new science building that will be used mostly by science majors, or a student will take 1 or 2 general ed class in. While all students are required to at some point, and in my experience a lot of time, use the testing facilities that are literally a trailer and not capable of holding even 1000 students at once. To make all of this better UVU in their genius now allow teachers to schedule their finals in the testing center. Imagine 33000 students trying to fit into a trailer over a three day period. I waited 2 hours a 15 min to take a final last spring and the actual test took me 30 min. This was without the 4000 new students. Needless to say UVU needs to spend more money on parking and the buildings everyone is forced to use instead of building that i might walk past.

  • Jason said:

    I agree that they need to build a bigger testing center, and that parking is a problem. Although, I have always had a parking spot. The Science building was a smart move for the university. Science is the most explosive field of study for students. Just because you aren’t taking classes there, doesn’t mean it’s wasted space. There are countless lab classes that are completely full. For BIO 1610 alone, they have full labs almost every hour from morning to 8PM. For a school to expand and compete, Science is best targeted field of study. This is considering that they already have solid business, poli science, history, arts, and mathematics classrooms and labs. I do fully agree that UVU needs a testing building, not a prefab. But, it’s also not a trailor with 20 seats in it like you portray it to be. They do have 4 testing rooms.

  • ANDREA said:

    I transferred to UVU from BYU… best decision ever! Sure its crowded but there are SO many opportunities here.

  • Larry said:

    Of course you are going to have an increase in enrollment when all you need is a pulse, and a HS Diploma to get in. I decided not to go to UVU because I wanted to be taught from professors that have Doctorates. It was the best decision I have ever made because I have a job now…a good one, and all my UV friends are 1. either still in school, or 2. unemployed, because they can’t find a job with their “diploma.” I already received a degree learning from individuals who had Bachelors, and Masters degrees…..it was called High School.

    “Quantity, not Quality” is clearly the motto of Utah Valley University.

  • Joey said:

    I love UVU. And hope it can continue to grow and become better and better. However, they complain they do not have enough money to provide facilities and faculty for how many students they have.. Easy solution.. STOP the open enrollment. They need to put requirements on who can attend the university. There should be a cap on how many students. Soon there will be so many students that it will hinder the learning process of others, especially because students cant get in half the classes they need.

    On another note, the science building is awesome. I agree with Jason. The science building will be great for the university, however, I do also agree that the testing center is a joke of a building. And parking goes with out mention. Its absolutely terrible. Whatever happened to the plan of creating parking structures. I read something about that somewhere.

  • Bip said:

    Don’t worry about parking. there is a new parking structure starting to be built this spring. We do need to limit the students and move forward not backward. I feel that nothing has changed now that Holland is president. The colleges faculty and staff are under paid and it is hurting the students.

  • Bowdrie said:

    I believe that the one thing that could make the biggest impact in terms of parking and accessibility to not just UVU but the entire community would be a TRAX line between UVU and BYU. Think about it: There are hundreds, if not thousands of BYU students that live by UVU, and there are definitely thousands of UVU students that live by BYU. If there were a TRAX line between the two schools, just think of how many cars that would eliminate on University Parkway and in the parking lots. Not only would it benefit UVU, but think of game-day traffic, concerts, graduations, conferences, you name it. Ya, UVU is building a new parking “structure”, but that doesn’t get cars off the road; it just brings more in. President Holland, you advocated for a new science building and we got it. Advocate now for a TRAX line!
    (Please do not respond with “they are already building a TRAX line on the west side of the freeway”. That’s FrontRunner, not TRAX; it wont help the local traffic at all).

  • Ike said:

    There are lots of people on here complaining about parking. I have been going to UVU for 3 years now and have NEVER had a hard time finding a parking spot. It’s simple. If the lots closer to the buildings are full, I head straight over to the economy lot, which I have only found almost full one day out of my three year tenure – and that one day was because they were holding a HS graduation there. Park in the economy lot and take the shuttle that comes every 15 minutes. In addition, if you get to school before 9 AM or after 1 PM, there is generally plenty of parking in all of the lots. The parking at UVU is much better than either of the other two universities that I have attended, WSU and U of U. Seriously, stop complaining that you have to walk a little bit. Much of the time I walk “all the way” from the economy lot to the CS building if I can’t find parking. It takes less than 10 minutes. If you have 10 minutes to stalk someone around the parking lot to take their space, you have 10 minutes to park in the economy lot and walk.

    I do agree that UVU is much too easy for people to get into. They should start setting minimum grades on the ACT, and don’t let people in if they can’t pass tests on college level english and math. There are plenty of resources out there for people who want to bring themselves up to that level, which they should before they even think about enrolling in college. I can’t tell you how irritated I am when I am forced to read a peer’s research paper and they don’t even know how to form a thesis. This is college! You should have learned how to do this stuff in high school! I went to HS over 11 years ago and still remembered proper academic writing when I came back to school; and I took 6 months reviewing math before I started school again.

    Also, contrary to our cultures’ popular opinion, college is not for everyone. Not everyone is a scholar, just as not everyone is an artist, or a tradesman. People need to stop looking at college as a cure-all, because it isn’t. It’s a tool. Just as art schools and trade schools are tools.

  • John said:

    @ Larry
    On the other hand, there are students such as myself (graduating this Fall) who already have jobs making nearly 6 figures thanks to the ONLY software engineering program in the state.

    @ Joey @ Ike and whoever else is complaining about the enrollment: Why not go to a better school if you are such excellent scholars and hate the crowded environment and mere plebeians you have to associate with? Or did the open enrollment of UVU help you get in in the first place; perhaps because your high school credits were old? Or perhaps my wife, who got a GED and then enrolled in UVU (and graduated last year and is now working with women to help get them into high-paying STEM fields) didn’t deserve to go to college? God forbid having to rub shoulders with some of those losers that have to work a full-time minimum wage job to support a family and have little extra time/money to spend preparing for school. They shouldn’t be LEARNING in a school! It’s a college after all! And they absolutely should not have any chance to fix their past mistakes at an unranked PUBLIC university. We are much too prestigious for that.

    I agree college is not a cure-all, but telling people to build their life without that tool (regardless of circumstance)… is pretty elitist to say the least there Mr./Mrs. Scholar. I for one don’t think people who are more than a decade out of high school should be allowed into college. Their knowledge is too out-of-date, and they don’t blend well with the traditional students. In fact, think of the money that could be saved if the school eliminated its department for recruiting and retaining non-traditional students! (I happen to know they have one, because I’m non-traditional myself and they send me e-mails). We could swipe all the promising young bloods from the other universities and let them have all the ancient 30+ somethings who failed at life and are going back to school to reboot their career. If UVU becomes closed enrollment, another facility will need to be provided. Perhaps community schools (like UVU used to be) can fill that role. I’m ok with that. That’s the reality of logistics. UVU can’t serve an infinite number of students. But that’s the only reason UVU should close enrollment, not that the ideology that the public should be educated is wrong. It’s true that not everyone needs college, but not needing it and not having access to it are two separate things. I’m not ok with judging people with no knowledge of their circumstances (hence the deep sarcasm of my previous paragraph — it’s easily missed on the internet — I’m actually glad that you’re in school, as it’s a great opportunity for those that can take it).

    Parking is a problem, but having spent a year at the U the parking is indeed no worse than there. There’s no excuse for the testing center though. That needs to be fixed pronto.

    @Bowdrie TRAX line is a great idea, but would take years to construct. They need a nearer term solution (and longer term ones like that as well).

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