Enrollment applications for fall quarter at Southern Utah University have already surged to an unprecedented level and there is still six months to go.

According to Director of Admissions D. Mark Barton, there is already a 40 percent increase in the number of freshmen, or 307, applying to attend SUU over the same period last year. As of September 30, 1990, some 1,200 students had applied to attend SUU during fall quarter of 1990, Barton said. But, as of March 15, there were already 1,100 applications for fall quarter of 1991.The jump in the number of freshmen has SUU administrators pondering the cause.

"There's never been anything like it before. It's unprecedented," said SUU President Gerald R. Sherratt.

The source of the application surge could be any one of or a combination of reasons. SUU officials point to the possibility of a large high school graduating class this year or a major increase in the number of high school graduates planning to attend a university. It could also be due to the school's new university status, officials say.

"Whatever the cause is, it highlights the importance of having the Board of Regents clarify their policy on enrollment growth," Sherratt said. "We're still adhering to the policy of accepting all qualified applicants, but those applicants are coming in much earlier and in much greater numbers than ever before."