Dixie State University recruitment administrators’ strategic planning created a more diverse student body, and trends show campus will only become more culturally varied.
Third-week enrollment numbers from fall 2014 show a total of 8,342 students enrolled, while the projected enrollment numbers for 2015 show 8,878 students enrolled. Brett Schwartz, director of New Student Programs, said he and his team recruit all types of students but try to target those who will succeed at DSU. Out-of-state student enrollment projections show an increase from 1,246 students in the fall of 2014 to projected 1,346 students in fall 2015.
Schwartz said while enrollment may show trends, it’s difficult to speculate on the future based on enrollment numbers at this time because students can still be admitted throughout the summer. It is more useful to look at the overall enrollment inquiries.
“This year we’ve received inquiries from [approximately] 8,000 out-of-state students,” Schwartz said. “Last year it was close to 6,000.”
The increase in prospective students is due to DSU having a more active out-of-state branding and recruitment presence, Schwartz said. DSU strategically increased its brand this year over others specifically in Arizona, California and Nevada because students in these states have easy access to the university through Interstate 15.
“More students from out of the state of Utah are aware of DSU than ever before,” Schwartz said.
In addition to the increase of out-of-state inquiries, prospective students from inside Utah are showing more interest as in-state inquiries have increased over last year from 11,000 to approximately 12,000.
“We strategically cannot stop recruiting in-state students because it is such a competitive industry,” Schwartz said. “If we were to stop, it would really set us back.”
TeeJAY Johnson, a junior business major and student ambassador from Centerville, said he has seen a lot diversity in DSU’s student culture during his two years working in the recruitment department, and he is pleased to see in-state and out-of-state admissions numbers increasing.
Many of the students who attend DSU from out of state pay tuition with a Western Undergraduate Exchange waiver that allows non-residents to pay only 150 percent of resident tuition. However, Schwartz said revenue is not a concern of the recruitment department; he and his colleagues focus on building a scholastically successful student body.
“First and foremost, we go after a student demographic that would be a good fit at Dixie academically,” Schwartz said.
There will be an insurgence of college-aged students returning from their missions this fall, Schwartz said. Dixie is an open-enrollment school, so DSU has no imposed enrollment caps other than housing limitations and class-size caps.
“With the missionary age change resetting itself and all of these missionaries that went coming back – they’re not going to get into Brigham Young University or the University of Utah because the limited admissions schools are not going to be able to admit them,” Schwartz said. “So, that’s another reason we should, hopefully, see an increase in enrollment.”
Schwartz said his department has not been targeting out-of-state students since DSU’s enrollment numbers needed bolstering as Utah’s youth began leaving for their mission directly out of high school. Nevertheless, the diversification of campus culture that began an upward trend during that time has continued.
“Dixie is growing,” Dean of Students Del Beatty said. “We are becoming more and more diverse each semester. International students, out-of-state students and Utah students are all discovering the educational opportunities that await them at DSU. It is a wonderful time to be at Dixie.”