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New enrollment is up

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Colorado State University-Pueblo has over 5,000 students enrolled this fall for the first time in 25 years.

Derek Lopez, the director of the First Year Center, said the overall headcount and gross full time equivalent, the students who have at least 15 credit hours, have both increased this fall.

Lopez said the gross full-time enrollment increased more than 11.8 percent from fall 2007 to about 4,200 students, and the overall headcount also increased by 9.6 percent to 5,051 students from 4,610 in fall 2007.

The number of new freshman has also increased from 1,033 in fall 2008 to 1,054 in fall 2009, Joe Marshall, the assistant vice president for enrollment management, said.

Lopez said 111 of those freshmen came from another state.

“California, Hawaii and Texas are our biggest states. We also draw them heavily from Alaska, Arizona, Washington and Oregon,” Marshall said. “So up until this year, we focused just on the west coast.”

Marshall said the school got 25,000 names of high school students from the East coast, including Florida, Maine and Massachusetts and he hopes to see an increase in enrollment as a result.

Marshall said there were a variety of reasons enrollment rose.

“Certainly, athletics [as well as] President Garcia and all of his community activities,” he said.

Marshall said he thought one of the main reasons the university has changed was because of how the university was marketed.

“[In 2007], we set up a new Web site dedicated just to admissions and we began purchasing names of high-school seniors strategically located around the United States,” he said. “So we went from 50,000 names two years ago to this year, we’re at 105,000 names.”

Lopez said the enrollment increase was, in part, due to the recruitment methods of the university.

“[The university used] a more comprehensive marketing and recruitment strategy and a more comprehensive conversion strategy,” he said. “Basically, that means we’re advertizing to more students, and then once they apply, we’re doing a better job of getting them enrolled.”

Marshall said the marketing wasn’t the only cause, but rather a combination of factors including a radical change of how the university is marketing to the public, the expansion of athletic programs and all the renovation around campus.

“Students and teachers work hard to make this place a happy place. All of that helps. When we bring visitors to campus, they talk about how pretty it is, how friendly the students is and how much excitement is building up, as opposed to three or four years ago when it was going.” Marshall said.

Lopez said the first year center helps students get to this step. Once students apply, the center contacts them and gets them enrolled in classes and helps them with the things they need to take care of. He said the center doesn’t do financial aid or housing, but they give them the contacts they need.

Lopez said economic times, along with other factors, contribute to the increase in enrollment. He said more people go to school during a recession. He also said there has been population growth around the country so there are more numbers of 18 and 19-year-olds.

“Then you have our other growth in the institution: we’ve added sports and new programs like the first year programs.” Lopez said.

Lopez said he also thought there has been an increase in commuter students. He said the growth in Pueblo is up and there is substantial growth in the region, which means students aren’t going to stay on campus.

“In the fall of 2009, [the university has] 103 students from the Pueblo area. These people most likely don’t live on campus.” Lopez said.