Prospective college students waiting to hear if Utah colleges will cap enrollment next fall will have to wait a little longer - probably until the last days of spring quarter.
The state Board of Regents hasn't decided if - or how many - students will be turned away, and a decision isn't likely until the end of May.At the board's monthly meeting, held Friday at Weber State University, Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr released a statement on the short- and long-term enrollment growth challenges.
The statement points out that the 1991 Legislature left unfunded 2,299 of the 6,551 new students anticipated to arrive on campuses next fall and that the regents are developing enrollment management plans.
What the statement didn't say is if, or how many, students will be turned away. In the Legislature's waning days, the regents threatened to turn away students if higher education didn't receive the funding level believed necessary to handle 6,551 new students.
"Right now I'm not willing to say if there will or won't be (students turned away)," Kerr later told the Deseret News.
He said the complex issue requires more study, including an analysis of the enrolled students to see if some types of students can be funded at lesser levels.
The regents will continue to discuss enrollment management plans at their April and May meetings, he said.
But that doesn't give any clear directions for next fall until the school year is almost over. Southern Utah University President Gerald Sherratt told the regents to hurry their deliberations. Advance fall registration is already up over last year."I don't know if students are applying earlier because they're afraid of getting of not getting in, but they're coming in droves," he said.
But while no enrollment directions have yet been set for next fall yet, fall, the regents did see for the first time Friday a draft report from its student access committee. Its work may be nucleus the nucleus for the enrollment policy.
The preliminary report from the Regents' student access committee, in the works since December, contains 12 points aimed to deal with enrollment growth while quality is maintained. Committee Chairman Clifford S. LeFevre said subcommittees will be assigned to each suggestion to investigate possibilities and explore options.
Among the suggestions:
- Refinement and enforcement of different admission policies for Utah's three types of institutions - community colleges, metropolitan universities and teaching/research universities.
- A formula that funds enrollment by level and type, not just enrollment numbers.
- Tuition policies that differentiate between the types of institutions.
- Recruitment, admission and enrollment policies that limit out-of-state students.
- Promotion of applied technology and vocational education programs.
- Improvement of class scheduling to make better use of space.
- Improvement of credit transfer between institutions.
- Implementation of University Centers, where students at two-year schools can take baccalaureate courses.