Utah colleges had 272 fewer students in their classrooms this fall than in 1987, but there was a slight increase in the number of full-time equivalent students in higher education, a report prepared for the State Board of Regents says.

The report says head-count enrollment has dropped .0.4 percent, or 272 fewer students than the 76,345 who were enrolled in the state's nine colleges in fall 1987. However, there was an increase of 196 full-time equivalent students for a fall quarter total of 57,317. A full-time equivalent student is one or several students who take a total of 15 credit hours.The report was scheduled for release Friday at the regents' monthly meeting at Snow College.

The University of Utah had 565 fewer students fall quarter than a year ago. But with a total enrollment of 24,046, the U. still has one-third of the total number of students enrolled in Utah higher education. The full-time equivalent at the U. is 18,574, or 404 fewer than last year for a 2.2 percent decrease.

The report attributed the decline to "the improved economy and tighter admission standards for incoming freshmen."

But while U. enrollment dipped, the numbers increased elsewhere. Utah State University, Weber State College, Southern Utah State College and Snow College reported all-time high enrollments.

Snow's enrollment rose 12.8 percent for head-count enrollment and 8.1 percent for FTE students. The report said Snow's increase may be partially due to increased efforts to retain students.

USU listed an increase of 35 nonresident students, or 1.8 percent, which reverses an eight-year trend of declining non-resident enrollments.

The enrollment figures are: USU, 14,236 or 10,086 FTE; WSC, 12,730 or 9,077 FTE; Southern Utah State College, 2,952 or 2,770 FTE; Snow College, 1,544 or 1,421 FTE; Dixie College, 2,201 or 1,873 FTE; College of Eastern Utah, 1,966 or 1,391 FTE; Utah Valley Community College, 6,821 or 5,319 FTE; and Salt Lake Community College, 9,577 or 5,086 FTE.

The report also showed summer quarter enrollment at 28,780, or 15,192 FTE, which was slightly below last year's figures.

Based on the fall and summer data in the report, the annualized FTE enrollment is down slightly from projections. The report placed the new systemwide annualized FTE enrollment at 57,969. It was originally projected at 58,766.

Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr, in his cover letter to the report, noted that the revised projection is still above the funded enrollment target of 57,280.