CMU expects enrollment to rise 14.8% over last year

Enrollment in the Colorado Mesa University system is projected to total about 8,900 students when the school takes its official fall census next week.

If achieved, a tally of 8,900 students would mark a 14.8 percent increase from the 7,751 students the school counted in its fall 2010 census. Enrollment increased 15.4 percent in fall 2010 compared with fall 2009 and increased 12.5 percent in fall 2009 compared with fall 2008.

The university had 8,130 students this spring.

Colorado Mesa President Tim Foster said out-of-state enrollment has taken the largest leap and has increased by about 15 percent compared with fall 2010. He said enrollment from within the 14 counties surrounding the university increased about 12 percent over the same period, and enrollment from other parts of the state increased about 14 percent year-over-year.

Of the 8,900 students, Foster said about 300 likely will be students of the university’s Montrose campus, and he predicted about 1,400 will be students at Western Colorado Community College as of Tuesday, leaving 7,200 students on the university’s main campus.

Foster said the enrollment growth is due primarily to more applications arriving this year. He said the school has not lowered admission standards. It increased those standards a few years ago, something the institution may consider doing again in the next few years.

“We’re trying to have a better delineation between” Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College, Foster said. Admission changes “may help us with that.”

More students mean more revenue for the school and “shows us the quality we’re offering out there is attractive,” Foster said, adding it can lead to hiring new faculty, building more campus housing and making sure there is enough classroom space for everybody.

Foster said he believes the university has been able to accommodate most students’ curriculum choices this fall, although some had to change their schedules from what they originally planned.

The president said he eventually would like to have annual growth of between 3 to 5 percent, although he hasn’t set a deadline for that goal.

“This pace is faster than what we really want to be, but they say, ‘Make hay while the sun shines,’ ” Foster said.



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