ST. GEORGE — According to the Utah System of Higher Education, Dixie State University has the highest enrollment percentage increase among Utah’s public colleges and universities for its second consecutive year, making it the largest university in Southern Utah.
Dixie State broke its total headcount record this fall with 9,673 students and welcomed its largest-ever freshman class. USHE’s Thirdweek Headcount Enrollment Report shows Dixie State saw a 7.56 percent increase in total headcount and a 7.74 percent increase in full-time equivalent students from 2016 to 2017. The next closest in percentage growth is Utah Valley University with an increase of 6.59 percent in total headcount.
“We’re staying the course in accomplishing our strategic plan and the message of Dixie State is traveling quickly,” DSU President Richard “Biff” Williams said. “It is all thanks to the many members of our campus community who have made this happen, and they all do it with a unified mission to improve our institution and provide the best learning environment possible for our students.”
Another report from USHE showed a comparison from 2008, indicating Dixie State has grown more than 50 percent in total headcount since then.
Comprised in the university’s growth this year is an increase in diversity as well, particularly among the Hispanic and Pacific Islander/Hawaiian student population, which jumped by 10 percent and 22 percent respectively.
In addition to the increased enrollment, Williams reported a 32 percent increase this fall in admitting students with a grade point average of 3.75 or higher in his State of the University Address last month.
Also notable is the uptick in students taking upper-division coursework required for bachelor’s degrees with a near 10 percent increase overall and more than 14 percent increase in full-time equivalent students from 2016 to 2017.
Such upper-division courses have become a top priority for the university as it works to broaden and enhance its academic programs as an integral part of its strategic plan. In the last year, Dixie State added seven new baccalaureate majors to its offerings and plans to add five more in the next year, along with its first three master’s degree programs, specifically in accountancy, genetic counseling and software development.
For the public colleges and universities as a whole throughout Utah, USHE reported an increased enrollment of 4,869 students for a net increase of 2.78 percent. This year’s growth in Utah adds to last year’s increase of 4,739. Another statewide increase was reported in full-time equivalent students at 2.92, indicating a greater number of students attending college full-time.