Idaho’s three universities have all reported an increase in enrollment for the fall – growth that almost wipes out their losses from the pandemic as of 2020.
Four-year schools submitted their fall issues to the State Board of Education this week.
The rebound comes at a pivotal time for higher education in Idaho. From fall 2019 to spring 2021, the state’s four- and two-year colleges lost more than 5,000 students. That translated into an 8.7% drop – and it’s impacting young adults but also colleges and universities. As higher education receives a decreasing share of the state budget, colleges and universities depend on tuition and fees to cover an increasing share of their costs.
Here are thumbnails of four-year schools in Idaho.
Boise State University
Fall registrations were 25,829, an increase of 7.2%.
By comparison, registrations in the fall fell 8.3% from a year ago.
President Marlene Tromp praised the rebound. “Boise State has always found new ways to reach students, meet the needs of industry and have a positive impact on our state, often in ways that serve as a national model,” she said. in a press release late Wednesday afternoon.
Here is what happened this year in several areas:
First year students: 3,203, an increase of 11.6%.
Graduate registration: 3,068, an increase of 3.8% and a university record.
Mode of instruction: In total, 83.6% of undergraduates and 48.8% of graduate students take at least one course in person.
A year ago, these figures were 71% and 40% respectively.
Out-of-state registration: Unavailable. A year ago, officials in Boise state said a spike in out-of-state enrollment helped offset a drop in enrollment in the state.
Double credit registration: Also unavailable.
In 2020, Boise State attributed much of its overall drop in listings to a drop in double credit. It wasn’t unique to Boise State. As high school students struggled with the uncertainties of the pandemic – and often a mixture of in-person and online education – many of them decided not to take college courses.
University of Idaho
Global workforce: 11,303, an increase of 4.7% compared to the previous year.
In 2020, the U of I had absorbed a drop in enrollment in the fall of 9.5%.
“We are energized by the increase in registrations, especially given the challenges of the pandemic,” President Scott Green said in a press release.
A closer look at the numbers U of I:
First year students: The U of I attracted its largest freshman cohort in five years: 1,656 students in total.
That’s a 16.2% increase from last year, but it’s largely due to out-of-state listings. First-year enrollments in the state rose 5.2%.
Undergraduate enrollment outside of state: 465, up 10.6%. “Our current student mix is changing rapidly,” said Dean Kahler, vice-president, strategic enrollment management. “Our marketing and pricing resonate with the out-of-state market.”
Graduate registration: 1,947, up 8.2%.
Hispanic Inscription: Up 8.5%, mostly back to pre-pandemic levels.
Double credit registration: 1,641, up 19.9%.
Returning students: The retention of first year students decreased by 2.2%.
Idaho State University
The total number of registrations amounted to 12,157.
This is a 3.2% increase, erasing much of a 5% drop from a year ago.
First year students: Up 10.7%, contributing to the first year-over-year increase in undergraduate enrollment in the state of Idaho in nearly a decade.
“We’re coming to a crossroads after years of declining enrollment,” President Kevin Satterlee said in a press release. “It shows the impact and importance of the retention and recruiting efforts that we have made on campus. “
Geographical diversity: Out-of-state students account for a relatively large share of the fall enrollment increase. Out-of-state registrations increased 7.8%.
Graduate enrollment: In place for the fourth consecutive year. Idaho State’s 2,326 graduate students represent a 5.6% increase.
Double credit registration: 2,911, up 15.6%.
Lewis-Clark State College
After counteracting pandemic trends and attracting a slight increase in registrations last fall, overall numbers have fallen 3.8% this year.
But the current workforce, 3,710, is up from pre-pandemic figures three years ago.
First year students: 1,324, up 1%.
Hispanic Inscription: Up 7.1%.
Geographical diversity: While Lewis-Clark continues to attract most of its students from Idaho, out-of-state enrollment has increased by 3% and international enrollment by 53%.
“The increase in international registrations is very encouraging as it could mark a return to more normal international registration patterns,” President Cynthia Pemberton said in a press release. “The increase in non-residents is also encouraging as it means the accessibility, affordability and quality of LC State is spreading beyond the Idaho border.”
More reading: “Missing students” Idaho Education News in-depth multimedia series on higher education enrollment during the pandemic. Look for a follow-up on the project later this fall.
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