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LOGAN, Utah — Fall 2020 enrollment numbers released Thursday show that Utah State University enrollment of new students (freshmen and transfer students) is up slightly, while overall enrollment is basically flat, despite continuing questions about the coronavirus pandemic and how it would affect universities.

While total student headcount, at 27,691, was down 0.4% from fall 2019, full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment was up slightly from last year. The FTE count represents the total credits taken by students. Typically, enrollments at USU rise through the end of the semester as students pick up programs in the statewide campuses and through concurrent enrollment.

The university saw some decline in out-of-state and graduate students this fall, while numbers are up for freshman and transfers (new students) from Fall 2019.

“We exceeded our freshman and transfer student numbers, so we are pleased with that given the volatility of situation,” said Robert Wagner, USU’s vice president for Academic and Instructional Services. “And, it was no surprise to see a slight dip in out-of-state students this fall. We’re still assessing graduate student numbers, but we’re seeing that students across the board simply are staying closer to home.”

Data from the Utah System of Higher Education gathered at the third week of the semester shows enrollment at Utah’s public colleges and universities held steady compared to last year, with a slight net decrease. See complete USHE institution numbers at https://ushe.edu/enrollment-2020.

“Our total headcount is basically flat at this point, but given these uncertain times and the COVID pandemic we all are facing, we’re optimistic about what we see,” Wagner said.

Degree-seeking undergraduate enrollments for fall 2020 are up by 0.5%, representing an increase of more than 100 degree-seeking undergraduates. The increase is driven primarily by larger numbers of first-time undergraduates, both those matriculating directly out of high school and those attending for the first time who have been out of high school for more than 12 months.

Many of the statewide campuses saw increased enrollments. USU’s statewide campuses system enables USU to deliver entire programs and classes throughout Utah.

“It’s very possible that students who choose to remain home instead of returning to Logan are continuing their education at the Statewide Campuses,” Wagner said. “In addition, people experiencing COVID-related job loss may be taking advantage of local educational access through the Statewide Campuses and are getting more education or new credentials they want.”

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