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University enrollment steady, preparing for increase at year’s end

Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University – Idaho’s enrollment numbers are in and for the first time in several semesters, they are looking essentially steady.

Statistics for 2014’s Winter Semester released indicated less than a 1 percent increase. This semester, the total campus enrollment totals 15,625 students. Last winter, there were 15,516 students.

The last few semesters have seen changes in enrollment because of the announcement of the lowered missionary age for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 2012.

In Fall Semester 2013, the total enrollment of 15,584 showed a decrease of 4.2 percent. The university is projecting that 2013 and 2014 will bear the most impact from the age change.

Marc Stevens, a spokesman for the university, said enrollment is starting to plateau after the initial surge of students putting their education on hold to serve an LDS mission.

“Our projections for this year tell us that the age change will effect the university and enrollment until the end of the year. After that, things will increase again,” he said.

Stevens said it is hard to estimate how the projected increases will impact housing and future development, but said the university is staying cognizant of potential scenarios.

But ultimately, it’s a matter of working in the present.

“It’s not so much a matter of preparing for increased enrollment as it is managing the numbers semester to semester,” Stevens said.

And with four semesters under their belt of enrollment uncertainty, Stevens said BYU-Idaho has a good handle of what to expect for the future.

“At first it was a big unknown of how it would effect us,” he said.

The admissions department’s forecasting were an invaluable resource for the university, but did not alleviate all unchartered territory.

But the university’s ability to adapt has helped.

“We can roll with [this] and be flexible.” Stevens said. “We have flexibility built into the track system. We’ve always been well positioned for adaptation.”

Additionally, a press release from the university indicates that online enrollment is continuing to increase. BYU-Idaho’s online program is available to students worldwide. Currently, the number of students enrolled in the university who are not on campus is 12,175. For Winter Semester of last year, the number was 7,623.

The demographics for this semester show that 7,809 students are male, and 7,816 students are female. Married students comprise 27 percent of the student population.

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