ST. GEORGE – The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) announced Wednesday that the number of students attending Utah’s colleges and universities has continued to increase for 2011. That fact continues to be true at Dixie State College of Utah as DSC officials announced that the institution topped 9,000 students for the first time in Dixie’s 100-year history, which is a result of four years of record enrollment growth.
USHE officially released its third week enrollment figures for the fall semester (www.higheredutah.org for complete release), which showed that DSC posted a 3.78% increase in total headcount with 9,086 students, 331 students ahead of last year’s total of 8,755. The percentage increase is the second-highest in the system overall behind only Weber State University, which posted a 5.62% increase in headcount. Overall, the USHE saw a 1.69% bump in total headcount at Utah’s eight colleges and universities.
However, DSC is tops in the USHE in percentage growth in budget related headcount at 5.47% at 8,583, an increase of 445 students from a year ago (8,138). In addition, DSC led the USHE system in fall full-time equivalency (FTE*) enrollment at 5.20% with 6,593 students (+326 students), compared to 6,267 students this time last year, while the College’s Budget Related FTE experienced the highest-percentage increase in USHE at nearly 4.52 overall with 6,395 students, up 277 students from last year’s total of 6,118.
DSC President Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld stated that continued demand and interest in Dixie’s two and four-year degrees, along with the addition of more degrees and offerings, have played a key role in Dixie State’s sustained enrollment growth. Nadauld also credited the institution’s hardworking and dedicated faculty and staff for their efforts to meet the needs of Dixie’s increased student population.
“We’re pleased to be able to continue to serve the educational needs of southern Utah and our expanding region,” President Nadauld said. “We appreciate the work our student services employees do to assist students who want to enter our institution. We are very grateful for our faculty who shoulder the extra work of teaching the increased number of students.”
Part of Dixie State’s continued enrollment growth is a 7.3% increase in first-time freshmen with 1,962 students, the largest freshman class in school history, which eclipsed last year’s previous best of 1,828 students.
In addition, DSC saw a 1.9% bump in upper division enrollment with 2009 students, while the institution welcomed 544 new transfer students from other institutions, down slightly from the 560 total transfer students who enrolled a Dixie a year ago. Dixie State also saw a 25.6% percent increase in minority student enrollment from this time last year with a total of 1,278 students (1,017 in 2010).
DSC Vice President of Student Services Frank B. Lojko noted that his staff has focused a tremendous amount of energy toward a comprehensive student services program, which promote student engagement, participation in clubs and extracurricular activities, and enrichment and cultural enhancement activities. Lojko listed an array of specialized services, including the school’s Testing Center, Disability Resource Center, Tutoring and Writing Lab, Health and Wellness Center, Multicultural and Diversity Center, and International Student Services, among others that promote a customer service component that meets the every day needs of DSC students.
“These types of customer service centered programs and other similar services produce a conducive learning enviroment, a healthy lifestyle, and social and intellectual interaction among their peers,” Lojko said. “Dixie will continue to grow and to attract students who want to try our perspective on higher education. We will work extremely hard to make sure that each student is not just a number, but has a name.”
Established in 1911 and built on the site of the first pioneer encampment in St. George, Dixie State College of Utah strives to help students to define, shape and achieve educational and life goals. Dixie State College is dedicated to providing personalized and excellent teaching in a learning environment where all students can become passionate about their individual educational endeavors.
In 2005, the Board of Regents approved a change in mission for Dixie State College, allowing the institution to begin offering bachelor’s degrees in “core” or “foundational” areas consistent with four-year colleges. DSC now offers more than 20 baccalaureate programs, while continuing to function as a comprehensive community college as well, offering associate degree and certificate programs to its students.
Dixie State’s new mission will pave the way to more bachelor’s degrees in the coming years. (Please visit the college’s website – www.dixie.edu – for the most updated list of programs.)
*One FTE is defined as any combination of 15 units of credit enrolled in by one or more students. For example, if a student is taking 15 credit hours, that equals one FTE. If 15 students take one credit, that equals one FTE as well.