The average age of Utah State University students is moving up, going from 20 percent older than 25 a decade ago to 40 percent today.

Only two out of every 10 students who enrolled at USU in 1976 were 25 and older. But in 1988, four out of every 10 were 25 and older.USU officials said recent high school graduates are still coming - enrollment of freshmen is up over 12 percent this year, contributing to an all-time record USU studentbody of 12,132.

But generally, the numbers of older students are growing more rapidly than of younger ones.

For example, in 1976, only 115 women older than 34 enrolled at USU fall quarter. This year there are 840.

Richard Jacobs, USU director of institutional research, said changes in the economy and in technology are the big reasons in the trend toward older students.

"If there's a downturn in the economy and people are laid off, a sensible option is to retrain," Jacobs said.

Another major factor is more women in the work force.

"Many working women are going to school to get more training, to change their majors or finish degrees. Breadwinners, either women or men, are upgrading by getting more education," Jacobs said.