Western State Colorado University Sees Growth in Enrollment
GUNNISON, CO – Western State Colorado University’s total enrollment on the first day of classes is 3% larger than last year, and the university is seeing other positive enrollment growth, including a 5% growth in the incoming freshman class, and Western’s best retention rate in years.
Preliminary numbers indicate that Western’s total enrollment on the first day of classes was 2,275 students, up from 2,214 in the 2012/2013 school year. This number accounts for all full time and part time undergraduate, graduate, and concurrently enrolled students.
An Important Note About Enrollment Numbers
First day of class numbers are preliminary and are not the official number reported to the state. Universities officially report the number of students who were enrolled at the end of the fall term, a number that is typically larger because it accounts for additional classes that begin in the middle of the term. Last year’s enrollment at the end of the fall term was 2,301 students, and historical trends indicate that Western’s end of term number for fall 2013 will be larger.
Retention and Female Enrollment Increase
“We believe more students are choosing Western because of our great faculty, challenging academics, and one of a kind location,” says Western State Colorado University Interim President Brad Baca. “We have also been focusing on retention, ensuring we keep more of the students we have, and it’s working.”
According to preliminary numbers, Western retained 69% of the 2012 freshman class. That’s up from 62% last year. The retention numbers may change by the time Western conducts its official census, but they demonstrate a positive trend. Western State Colorado University has made retention efforts a high priority over the past several years, with initiatives like a new comprehensive first year experience program that focuses on engaging freshman in their academic programs and the larger Western community.
“Western is committed to providing the best academic and career support for our students,” Baca says. ”By elevating our academic offerings, career services and graduate programs, we are working to provide an outstanding education that ensures our students graduate and prepares them for the rest of their lives.”
Western also saw a 22% increase in female first time freshman students. Women account for 46% of this year’s freshman class. Last year 39% of the freshman class was women. Western also saw a 31% increase in students who are veterans. The university has been actively recruiting both of these groups in an effort to increase campus diversity.
“This is the second year in a row we have seen growth in our enrollment, and we believe that this is just the beginning,” Interim President Baca says. “This is a university on the rise, and with a renewed focus on academic excellence, improving retention, and growth, we expect more students will choose Western in the years to come.”