DSC sees enrollment decrease; similar situation across state

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Fewer students are roaming the campus of Dixie State College than last year, but administrators are not concerned. 

This semester, enrollment at DSC has decreased 2.45 percent in total headcount from the 2011-2012 school year. Enrollment went from 9,086 to 8,863 students, according to Dixie Data.

There was a slight decrease in full-time enrollment by 0.82 percent, which is more than the 0.03 percent the Utah System of Higher Education overall reported. 

David Roos, executive director of student services, said there was initially some concern for the decrease in enrollment, but after looking over the numbers of similar institutions, they realized it was a statewide phenomenon. Overall, half of the institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education noted a 1.56 percent decrease in enrollment, according to the Utah System of Higher Education. 

“At first we were more concerned, but as the enrollment numbers came out across the state, we saw that comparable institutions that are open admissions, like UVU and Salt Lake Community College, also saw even greater reductions in their enrollment this year,” Roos said. “That was reassuring to know that we weren’t the only school in the state that saw that.” 

Multiple factors created the slight decrease in enrollment.

For the last two years, DSC had the largest graduating class of associate and bachelor’s degrees, causing a decrease in the overall headcount. 

Joshua Sine, director of new student programs, said the decrease is balanced by the 4 percent increase in first-time freshmen, as well as a 52 percent increase in international enrollment.

Another factor of the decrease of the total number of students is the overall loss of eligibility of scholarships and financial aid. Students who can’t afford to stay in school without financial assistance because of their poor academic performance leave until they can afford to return. 

A solution to this problem has been put into place by administration. 

“We’re looking at different ways to make sure students are successful in classes,” said Frank Lojko, vice president of student services.

There are multiple systems in place to assist students in keeping up with their classes such as Starfish and Degree Works.

Starfish is an academic alert system that enables professors to send email alerts to students who are at risk because of absences, missing assignments, etc. Degree Works places the future in the forefront of students’ minds by listing their planned class schedules.

Lojko also said another reason some students have transferred is because DSC may not offer their majors such as engineering, finance, political science and premed. 

“We’re going to see a natural increase…as we continue to add to our bachelor’s degree offerings,” Roos said. “Anytime you have more degree opportunities, that will entice students to come here.”

As more students enroll at DSC, lack of housing will become more of a problem. This is being addressed by plans for a new residence hall in the future as well as continued partnership with nearby apartment landlords.

There are 332 beds for single students for approximately 440 applications with deposits. For family housing, there were 45 applications for 19 family student apartments.

“Having a larger, healthy resident life community would augment student life activity, and engender opportunities for students to connect to college resources within their living environment,” said Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life. “The President is exploring the option of a public/private partnership to address our student housing needs. This partnership would involve a private entity that would build new housing facilities on campus.”  

Finally, the recent change for the age of missionaries has an unknown effect on future enrollment. 

“You’ll see less 18-year-old males on campus,” Sine said. “However I still think you’ll still see the traditional students. We’ve done a nice job of diversifying campus [with] students from out of state [and country].” 

Though there could be less of one demographic, other students could balance that absence. 

“We’re studying [what the effect will be], but in two years we’ll have many students who deferred their scholarships will be coming back and will be back in that cycle,” Lojko said. “And it will not have the impact that it might have in these first two years.”

Overall, the slight decrease in enrollment is not greatly affecting DSC.

“It’s hard for me to speak for the entire administration, but as a whole, I don’t think the decrease is overly concerning,” Sine said.