Enrollment falls 1.1 percent

Though enrollment numbers for spring semester are down 1.1 percent from last year, Youngstown State University administrators expressed satisfaction with this statistic.

Gary Swegan, YSU’s associative vice president for student enrollment, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the 1.1 percent decline. At the onset of this semester, he had expected enrollment to be similar to that of fall semester.

“To start out, we were down 3.13 percent in the fall, and spring typically follows fall very closely, so we might have anticipated another 3 percent drop,” Swegan said in a press release. “That didn’t happen. We’re down just 1.1 percent. In fact, we enrolled a slightly larger group than we planned for in our budget for this semester. We hit our target, plus a little more.”

The university’s headcount enrollment — the number of students currently enrolled in at least one class at YSU — totals 12,823.

The university budget is not on headcount, though, but on full-time equivalence numbers — a statistical analysis that combines the total number of credit hours students are currently taking at YSU and divides this total by twelve.

In order to meet budgetary expectations, an FTE of 9,975 had to be achieved. The university surpassed this number by 27 with an FTE of 10,002.

“I am pleased that we landed where we did,” Swegan said.

YSU President Randy Dunn called the FTE numbers a minor success.

“We take our wins where we can find them. … It’s nothing worth throwing a party over,” Dunn said.

Swegan indicated that an increase in high school students enrolled in college courses and a growth in the graduate student population helped minimize the decline in spring enrollment.

“A good portion of the reason that we landed in as good as shape as we did was fueled by the registration of college in high school,” Swegan said. “… The graduate program has been getting a little bit of traction here and has been up for the last several semesters.”

Jack Fahey, associative vice president for student affairs, added that he is excited by improved graduate enrollment.

“I’m especially pleased with the continued growth in graduate enrollment. It’s an area where we have worked especially hard, all across the university. It is a critical component of our strategic plan,” Fahey said.

Swegan concluded that although spring numbers are not extraordinary, he is optimistic about the university’s future.

“I hope that what we’re seeing is the beginning of some better news coming out of our enrollment situation. I think we may have turned a corner, and any time that you’ve had three consecutive years down like we’ve had, it doesn’t turn around over night. It just simply doesn’t,” Swegan said. “I think this is really being viewed as very, very positive news.”