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USU Enrollment Rates Decline While Graduation Rates Increase

USU President Noelle Cockett would like institutions of higher education to focus on graduation rates to monitor success

Fall enrollment rates at Utah State University have dropped according to a statewide report released this week.  The Utah System of Higher Education enrollment numbers show Utah State University's fall enrollment fell by 122 students. The University of Utah enrollment numbers fell by 171 students.

Speaking just days before the release of enrollment numbers, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett told faculty, staff and students that she chooses to focus on graduation rates to gauge the success of the state's higher education institutions.

"It dawned on me that if we are only pulling in 3,300 freshman and we are graduating 4,500 students then what is happening to our enrollment?" Cockett said. "That is why I don't think enrollments are the best measurement for our success."

Cockett said student success efforts at the USU Logan campus and throughout the university's statewide campus program will include experiential learning opportunities, including the issuing of certificates.  And, she said, USU Advancement is preparing to launch a second fundraising campaign to raise money for student scholarships.

"Great news for Utah State. We are bringing in these students and we are making sure that they leave with that degree that they are seeking," Cockett said. "We had 50% more graduations in spring of 2019 than we had 10 years ago. Again, just phenomenal numbers."

There are more than 189,000 students enrolled in public universities for the fall of 2019, an increase of more than 3% and translating to more than 5,400 students.

State education officials say Utah Valley University gained the most students overall with 1,797 at the Orem campus.

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.