Thursday , October 12, 2017 - 5:15 AM
Weber State put on a block party for students at the Stewart Bell Tower Plaza on September 1, 2017, the year the school saw its highest headcount enrollment ever.
OGDEN — Weber State University saw an enrollment increase of more than 1,000 this year compared to the last.
According to headcount enrollment totals released Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017-18 enrollment has reached 27,949 students, a 4 percent increase over the 26,809 students enrolled in 2016-17.
University Provost Madonne Miner said this is their highest enrollment total ever, but that’s including concurrent enrollment students. Without those high school students taking courses for college credit, the school’s enrollment is up less than 1 percent from 18,699 students last year to 18,828 this fall.
"We hope that by offering them the concurrent enrollment possibility not only will their futures benefit because they'll be able to complete and earn degrees more quickly but they'll also hopefully see the benefit of coming to Weber State,” she said.
Jen Bowen, a first-year student at Weber, was able to graduate from Viewmont High School with 15 college credits thanks to taking concurrent enrollment courses. She said she’s glad she took advantage of the opportunity because now she has a jump-start on life.
“College is going to be great and I’m excited for what the rest of my college career will bring but I definitely want to get started on life after college,” Bowden said.
Concurrent enrollment courses are offered at more than 40 schools and institutions throughout Utah, according to the school’s website.
Over the last decade, headcount enrollment at Weber State has increased by 49 percent, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research.
“We're pleased and delighted with the increase,” Miner said.
Weber State’s first-year class has grown continuously in recent years, making up 53 percent of the student body as of this fall.
Since fall 2013, there have been more women than men enrolled. This year there are 15,212 women and 12,737 men attending Weber State as of this fall.
Miner said Weber State has made a conscious effort to cater to the changing diverse landscape of Utah.
The Associated Press reported Utah’s hispanic population has grown more than 14 percent over the last five years, surpassing 400,000 residents in 2015. About half of the children in Utah will be children of an ethnic minority by 2050 according to the 2015 Measures of Child Well-Being in Utah report.
Miner said 1,969 Weber State students self-identified as hispanic in 2016, a number that has increased by 7 percent to 2,108 this fall. To foster that growth, more Spanish-speaking staff have been hired and the school is building a Community Outreach Center in central Ogden for the area’s underserved populations.
“We're recognizing Utah is becoming more diverse,” Miner said.
Full time equivalent enrollment, which approximates the number of full time students at a school, also increased at Weber State. To be considered full time, a student must enroll in at least 15 credit hours per semester for undergraduates and 10 for graduate students.
The number of full time equivalent students at Weber State went from 16,509 in 2016-17 to 17,183 this year — a 4 percent increase.
Enrollment increased by 4,869 students throughout all eight of Utah’s public colleges and universities, reaching 180,034. All but Utah State University and Salt Lake Community College saw increased enrollment.
Enrollment projections approved by the Utah State Board of Education in May show about 61,000 more students are expected to enroll at Utah colleges and universities in the next decade with an average annual growth rate of 3 percent — in line with this year’s increase of 3 percent.