UCCS numbers reflect national trend in enrollment and could affect funding

15 October 2019

Frank Carber 

[email protected]

     While less students may not seem like such a negative thing to students as it frees up parking spaces, it can have negative effects on funding. Enrollment of freshmen students at UCCS decreased this year after a decade long period of growth, but the decrease is part of a national trend.      

     While enrollment of freshmen students at UCCS dropped by about 80 students between fall 2018 and 2019, fall enrollment at UCCS has increased nearly every year since 2010 according to the Office of Institutional Research’s fall enrollment chart.  

     The number of enrolled students at UCCS impacts the university’s ability to receive state funding.     Carlos Garcia, associate vice chancellor of Student Success and Auxiliary Services, said that the decrease in enrollment is due in part to the economy at large. 

     “Whenever there is a good economy, less people are transferring to four-year schools because there are jobs available,” said Garcia. 

     According to a presentation Garcia gave to the Student Government Association senate on Sept. 26, lower enrollment will impact areas of campus funded by student fees. Every student fee has an advisory board with sitting students. 

     UCCS is part of a national trend. While public universities saw a steady increase in student enrollment since 2000, growth has leveled off and started dropping according to The Nation Center for Education Statistics’ report on undergraduate enrollment. 

     Garcia said that another possible contributor for the decrease in enrollment was the free admission day last year that allowed students to apply to public Colorado universities without paying a fee, giving students more options.  

     Garcia said that another reason is the decrease of 18-year-olds in the population, and many campuses are facing that same issue. 

     While the overall number of freshmen students has declined, majors in the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and the College of Business. The number of minority undergraduate students saw an increase by 4.6 percent. Education and engineering majors, however, experienced a drop.  

   Keeping costs for students living on campus affordable also helps. According to Garcia, 65 percent of freshmen are housed on campus. The affordability and attraction of housing services can be a determining factor in whether a student chooses to enroll at a given institution. 

     “We know that students who connect with the campus are more likely to stay,” said Garcia. “We want to keep costs affordable for the students.” 

     Garcia is responsible for auxiliary services relating to the student body. Auxiliary services are programs paid for by student fees and include the student center, recreation center, residence life and housing, health services and more. According to Garcia, the performance of these services impacts overall enrollment numbers as students often factor in student services when choosing a university. It is important to keep these programs in the best state possible.   
     Advertising is also important. “It is a matter of us getting information out to students so that they can make good decisions,” Garcia said.