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