Utah State University’s Tooele Regional Campus defied a statewide trend and posted an increase in its full-time equivalent count of students for the fall of 2013.
The fall 2013 FTE for the USU-Tooele Regional Campus is 465, just four over the 461 at this same time last year, which represents a 0.8 percent increase.
“It’s not a whole lot,” said Donna Dillingham-Evans, dean and executive director of USU-Tooele. “But it’s more than others did.”
The FTE count takes the total number of credit hours of student enrollment and divides that number by 15—the number of credit hours for the typical full-time student.
Dillingham-Evans announced the enrollment figures at the campus, along with plans for new degree offerings and a new science building during a Tooele County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at the school.
State colleges and universities had braced themselves for a drop off in enrollment as a result of the lowering of the age for LDS missions from 19 to 18.
While nearly all state colleges and universities did experience a drop in FTE, it was not as big as some had feared, according to a news release from the Utah System of Higher Education.
USU’s overall 2013 FTE dropped by 2 percent from the fall 2012 FTE. The only state college or university that experienced a growth in fall FTE for 2013 was Snow College, which posted a 0.74 percent growth.
Weber State University dropped the most with a 6.9 percent decrease. The overall drop in fall FTE for state higher education was 3.7 percent.
While the FTE was up for the local USU campus, that doesn’t mean the total number of students on campus had also increased.
The total headcount at USU-Tooele dropped from 1,053 from fall 2012 to this year’s fall count of 986.
Dillingham-Evans also announced a new science building that will be built south of the Tooele County School District’s Community Learning Center.
It will be the first new USU building on 54 acres of ground that USU obtained from Tooele City for future expansion of its campus.
“The building will be named the Tooele Science and Technology building and it will be a cutting edge science broadcast facility,” said Dillingham-Evans.
The new science building will have 29,000 square-feet and cost an estimated $9.8 million.
The building, which is planned to open in the fall of 2015, is crucial to USU-Tooele’s plans to serve students in Tooele County.
“Right now, in order to earn a degree from USU, students must take a lab science class as part of their general education requirements,” said Dillingham-Evans. “Right now we do not have any place on our campus where a lab course can be taught.”
The building is currently in the design phase. The architect is Method Studio, the Salt Lake City-based architect and design firm that designed the new Tooele Applied Technology College that opened last spring.
With the opening of the new science building, USU-Tooele will start offering a bachelor of science degree in biology in the fall of 2015. An associate degree program in nursing and a registered nurse training program are also scheduled to kick off in the fall of 2015.
An MBA program at the USU-Tooele Campus will start in the fall of 2014.
“We plan to provide access to needed degrees and programs for the community,” Dillingham-Evans said.