The new student on a Utah college campus this fall was most likely a young, female undergraduate.
Females age 18-24 years in lower division courses comprise the main groups who pushed enrollment numbers skyward at Utah's nine colleges and universities this fall.A new report, prepared for the State Board of Regents, compared fall 1989 and 1990 enrollment numbers and analyzed the various attributes of the increase.
The report was compiled after 3,671 more students than had been expected showed up on the campuses this fall and will be used as a basis to make future enrollment projections.
C. Gail Norris, associate commissioner of higher education, said higher education officials analyzed the enrollment composition to project enrollment variations in the future. The experts tried to assess if the enrollment increases were a one-time blip or the beginning of a pattern so the model they used would need to be revised.
They concluded that several factors evident in this year's increase will likely continue in the next few years, and the projection model will need to be adjusted.
"It was not an unusual fluke causing the upside, causing enrollments to be higher. We see no evidence of this being a fluke," Norris said.
The higher education analysts found that the enrollment increases include:
- Continued strong participation by the traditional college-age group, those age 18 to 24 years. The report found that 56 percent of the increase was in this age group.
- Substantially increased participation by women. Female enrollment increased more rapidly than male enrollment, with women making up 56 percent of the increase.
- Increased participation by older students in the prime employment age group, age 25 and older.
Of the total number of students now enrolled in Utah colleges and universities, one quarter - 26 percent or 22,258 students - are in the age group of 25 to 34 years. Another 11,422, or 13 percent, belongs to the 35-49 age group.
"A very minor part of our enrollments may represent persons seeking recreational and self-fulfilling experiences - worthwhile ends in themselves. The overwhelmingly vast majority, however, are persons seriously pursuing training and educational preparation for initial or improved employment . . . said Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr, in a statement contained in the report.
- Enrollment in undergraduate, academic-general classes. Undergraduate studies made up 94 percent of the enrollment growth for full-time students and 76 percent for all students. The growth was almost 100 percent in academic-general courses for the full-time students and 79 percent for all students.