Dixie State University reports enrollment growth for third year running
By Jyl Hall
October 4, 2018
Dixie State University posted an increase in student enrollment for the third consecutive year, according to official enrollment numbers released by the Utah System of Higher Education today.
Dixie State’s Fall 2018 student population, comprised of 9,950 individuals, increased by 2.86 percent from last year as indicated by USHE’s Fall 2018 3rd Week Headcount Enrollment Report. Demonstrating the longevity and sustainability of the university’s growth, Dixie State’s third-week fall enrollment has increased by 16.18 percent in the last three years alone and by more than 54 percent in the last decade.
“The secret about Dixie’s great value — a high-quality education at an affordable price — is getting out, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” Dixie State University President Richard “Biff” Williams said. “This increase of students is allowing us to create more academic programs, facilities and initiatives than ever before. As a result, these additions are strengthening not just our institution, but the entire Southern Utah community as a whole.”
Included in DSU’s growth is an increase in diversity, particularly among the Asian, Hispanic and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian student populations, which jumped by 23, 5 and 4 percent respectively.
The dedication of the university’s Division of Student Affairs has helped make the growth possible.
“We had multiple teams that intentionally worked together through strategic recruitment in key markets, a focused attention to the on-boarding process and rapid growth in concurrent student enrollment,” Dr. Peter Gitau, vice president of student affairs, said. “The incoming class is also more diverse and stronger academically, thus aligning with the recruitment goals of the university’s strategic plan.”
Offering its expanding student body more academic programs, Dixie State opened its first graduate program, a Master of Accountancy, this fall. Additionally, during this calendar year alone, DSU added bachelor’s degrees in music performance, mechanical engineering, design, and molecular biology-biochemistry in addition to gaining the Board of Trustees approval for an applied and computational math degree, which still awaits final approval from the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. With these additions, the University will offer baccalaureate degrees in 44 distinct fields of study.
To accommodate the university’s growth, Dixie State continues to add to the campus footprint. For example, the Human Performance Center, which is under construction alongside University Avenue, is on track to open prior to the Fall 2019 semester. The center will house the specialized classrooms and labs DSU needs to offer health and human performance programs as well as a student fitness center. Across the street in the former East Elementary building, Atwood Innovation Plaza is being developed into a hub for support, guidance and education on innovation initiatives. Additionally, Phase II of the Trailblazer Stadium renovation project has been completed, adding a 4,909-seat eastside grandstand and better fan experience to the stadium. Looking forward, the university is preparing to ask the Utah State Legislature for support to build a Science, Engineering and Technology building.
“DSU continues to plan for and respond to this enrollment growth by enhancing support services such as mental health support, student programing and academic support among other initiatives,” Gitau said. “The completion of the state-of-the-art Human Performance Center will go a long way to providing expanded recreational and academic space for a stronger student body.”