CSU enrollment tops 25,000

Sep 232003
Authors: Todd Nelson

CSU’s enrollment numbers grew above 25,000 students for the first time in school history this semester.

Fall enrollment figures show CSU with a total enrollment of 25,042 students, which is a 1.2 percent increase from last fall, according to a university news release announcing the new numbers.

“Although we are a big school, I’d like to think all the people here — the students, the faculty, the staff – they’re all very friendly and caring, and they promote a small school feeling,” said Peter Nicholls, CSU’s provost/academic vice president.

The university credited the record enrollment numbers to success in retaining students, as the number of incoming freshman actually fell .7 percent from last year for a total of 3,802 freshmen. Nearly 500 more undergraduates stayed in school this semester than last, helping the university’s four-year graduation rate rise to 32 percent. The university has 20,628 undergraduate students and 3,837 graduate students.

“I think it’s good,” said Tyler Sugaski, a senior liberal arts major. “It’s healthy for the school’s reputation, and the state as a whole.” Sugaski said he didn’t think more students on campus led to a poorer quality education. “Look at other schools, like in the Big Ten. They’re big and still considered top schools.”

The university’s enrollment growth rate of 1.2 percent was down from the last several years, which saw 3.5 percent growth rates. The university tried to contain growth in the face of budget cuts that have led to fewer faculty and staff positions, according to the news release.

Nicholls said the university does not have plans to cap university enrollment as a whole, but some of the university’s more popular programs have restricted access or will start to restrict access because so many students want to join the program.

“Twenty-five thousand is quite a few students, and they all seem to be concentrated in certain areas,” Nicholls said, noting that some of the more popular programs include business, construction management, mechanical engineering, psychology and computer science. “We have no plans in the immediate future of putting enrollment caps on the institution, but we do need to be very careful in the future about watching where those students want to major and being sure we have the flexibility to accommodate those students.”

He said the high enrollment numbers could mean that some classes will be bigger than before and that some class sections may not be available.

“I think what you’re going to find is that some classes are going to be bigger than they used to be,” Nicholls said.

CSU’s minority enrollment increased 1.5 percent, 2.4 percent among undergraduates, to make up about 12 percent of the undergraduate population. New international student enrollment stayed almost the same as last year at 950 students.

This year’s incoming freshman class scored the highest average index score in school history. The incoming freshman class had an average score of 109.7. The average index score is a combination of standardized test scores, high school grade-point average and class rank.

“We’re encouraged by the quality of the students who are choosing Colorado State University, and that our efforts to keep students enrolled and on track are paying dividends,” said CSU President Larry Penley in a news release. “Despite the economic difficulties we have faced, we are committed to providing the highest quality of education possible, in part by effectively managing the number of students and resources we have to serve them.”

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