CMU a top choice for Colorado grads
Colorado Mesa University was the fifth-most popular choice for Colorado high school students who graduated in 2011 and went to a four-year college or university that fall, according to a new report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
Of the 52,246 Colorado students who graduated from high school in spring 2011, 29,974, or 57.4 percent, went on to college that fall. That was down slightly from both 2009 and 2010, according to the Department of Higher Education report.
Twelve percent of the class of 2011 chose an out-of-state college, with 1 percent of all college-bound Colorado high school graduates choosing the University of Wyoming — the most popular out-of-state pick that year.
Forty-five percent of the class of 2011 stayed in Colorado. Colorado Mesa was the institution of choice for 4.7 percent of in-state students headed to a two- or four-year college, making it the fifth-most selected four-year school and the sixth-most popular institution overall for 2011 graduates.
The enrollment figure used in the report of 1,407 in-state freshmen at Colorado Mesa includes students who went to CMU in Grand Junction or Montrose or Western Colorado Community College.
Rick Taggart, executive director of marketing and student recruitment at CMU, said the university has “dominated” the Western Slope market but it takes students from the more populous Front Range to get to N0. 5 for in-state freshmen enrollment among the state’s 12 four-year public schools. The university has three full-time recruiters targeting the Front Range.
Last October, the university opened an outreach center staffed by 16 students who contact prospective students. The center, combined with recruiter efforts, likely will lead to “strong numbers from the Front Range” this fall and beyond, according to Taggart.
“We plan to continue to be just as aggressive as we have been. We’d like to continue growing. It’s an important part of our revenue stream,” he said.
While in-state students outside of Mesa County help the school’s financial position by paying for on-campus housing as freshmen and sophomores, out-of-state and international students pay higher tuition. Taggart said he could see adding a second recruiter in California in the next few years and plans to continue out-of-state recruitment efforts in the west and a new area, the upper Midwest. Taggart also has plans for international recruitment, including the prospect of an English immersion center.
According to the report, 53.6 percent of District 51 students went to college after graduating in 2011. Plateau Valley School District had the state’s lowest rate of graduates who went to college: 18.8 percent. Superintendent Greg Randall said the college matriculation rate is closer to 80 percent for Plateau Valley High School graduates, but the average is brought down by Grand Mesa High School, an alternative high school associated with Collbran Job Corps, where students graduate with training in a trade.