Posted October 25, 2013
Idaho State University’s fall 2013 total enrollment is 13,845, which is down 2.6 percent from last fall.
These numbers reflect the total student headcount, 11,788 undergraduate and 2,057 graduate students, on the census day of Oct. 15, according to Laura Woodworth-Ney, ISU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The total headcount last fall was 14,209.
“Given Idaho’s 2 percent decrease in high school graduates for 2013 and the nation’s declining demographics, we anticipated this temporary decline,” Woodworth-Ney said.
She also noted the upswing in the economy, with more potential students taking jobs, likely contributed to the decline in enrollment.
Although overall numbers dipped, ISU administrators pointed to some positive factors. Despite flat enrollment figures in recent years, ISU graduation rates have continued to climb – ISU graduated a record number, 2,343, in the 2013 fiscal year, Woodworth-Ney said.
ISU is attracting more qualified students now than in the past, so the number of those who need remediation have declined, resulting in an overall drop in the number of credit hours needed by students. The number of credit hours required to graduate for most students and general education requirements have been lowered resulting in fewer credits taken by many students as they earned their degrees and certificates, Woodworth-Ney said. ISU’s heath science programs continue to attract high-quality applicants, and most programs have extensive waiting lists.
To address the drop in enrollment, ISU will continue its focus on recruiting qualified students from Idaho and neighboring states who will be successful in college, said Patricia Terrell, ISU Vice President for Student Affairs.
Even though Idaho State University is ranked one of the top 15 most affordable colleges in the nation, ISU plans to enhance students’ financial literacy and help students make wise decisions regarding paying for their education.
Working towards the Idaho State Board of Education’s goal of 60 percent of the Gem State’s 25-to-34-years-olds having a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2020, ISU has enrolled a record number of high school students in its Early College program this fall, Terrell said. This highly affordable program for high school students not only reduces the number of credit hours they will need to graduate from college but also reduces their college debt, a significant factor in retention and graduation.
Other steps for improving enrollment and retention by ISU include:
• providing proactive academic advising to ensure that students are taking only the courses they need in the appropriate sequence to optimize their time to graduation;
• partnering with Complete College America to increase graduation rates and students’ employability in areas with high demand;
• following up with students who have stopped going to school to help them re-enroll at either ISU or where they are currently living so they can complete their education; and
• continuing fundraising efforts to increase the number and amount of scholarships.