UCCS freshman enrollment numbers continue to soar

Sept. 8, 2014

Kyle Guthrie
[email protected]

Every year since 1993, the number of freshman enrolling at UCCS has hit an all-time high.

The school was named one of the Best Public Western Regional Universities and ranked in the top 10 in the nation among public engineering schools whose highest degree is a Masters or Bachelors.

However, it may not be just the awards that are driving people to attend UCCS. Several national factors have made Colorado the fourth highest state in population growth between April 2010 and July 2013, which could be contributing to the elevated enrollment rates.

Additionally, students may change their minds about their majors but still remain at the university.

Rachel Marloff, a freshman majoring in visual and performing arts, is one such student. Originally drawn to UCCS because of a nursing program that was ranked 18th in the nation, she decided to instead go into a new field.

“It’s just more convenient this way,” Marloff said, explaining why she chose to stay at UCCS. “It’s convenient for my family and I get to keep my local job.”

Other draws, such as sports, help contribute to attracting incoming freshmen. Hayley Ferguson, a freshman history major, said that her team was the driving factor in her decision to attend UCCS.

“I came here for volleyball,” Ferguson said. “I loved the team and I loved the coach, so for me, the choice was easy.”

While official numbers for enrolled students cannot be confirmed until the semester census date of Sept. 11, early projections place it in the area of 11,200 students, with an estimated 1,759 of them first year students.

Returning veterans also add to enrollment numbers. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down and military personnel are being released due to defense spending cuts, retired personnel often gravitate towards regions who tend to be more supportive of veterans and colleges that accept their GI Bill tuition credit.

With its high military population and deep military background, UCCS seems to be one such place.

However, there are some side effects of the large influx of first year students.

English professor Rebecca Posusta explained that the large number of students has created room schedule conflicts with many faculty members.

“We have a couple of things going on. We have a lot of students and a lot of classes being taught,” Posusta said. “Getting a classroom isn’t something I am required to do, but I’ve noticed that the people who assign classrooms are having an awful lot of trouble. I know that we’ve had professors without classrooms at the beginning of a semester or two.”

Regardless of the occasional problems the increase creates, such growth in a university is a victory for the institution. Mathew Cox, director for enrollment management, believes there are several key ingredients to the growth of UCCS.

“When looking at enrollment increases in college, it’s important to remember that it’s never a single factor contributing to the increase, what you really have are several strong factors that need to be taken into account,” Cox said.

“Our recruitment drive has been very strong at spreading information about UCCS to high school graduates. Additionally, we see more and more people realizing that UCCS has more to offer than other universities.”

Cox also explained that the administration has been phenomenal at marketing and while they have always targeted Colorado residents primarily, the marketing is now reaching nationwide as well.