Fall enrollment ‘exceptional’ at four CU campuses

Preliminary numbers show record growth across system

A record 64,922 students are attending the University of Colorado’s four campuses in fall 2017, an increase of 1,720 students – or 2.7 percent – over fall 2016 (63,202).

Todd Saliman, vice president and chief financial officer, presented the preliminary numbers to the CU Board of Regents during its regular meeting Sept. 7 at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Census enrollment numbers will be finalized this week.

“We are having an exceptional year as far as enrollment,” Saliman said. “Enrollment is up on all of our campuses, and this is contrary to the national trend that we’ve seen for many institutions.”

Each campus’s enrollment showed collective gains, with CU Boulder seeing the largest jump at 4.3 percent. CU Colorado Springs enjoyed the second largest increase at 4 percent, assisted by a 9.8 percent gain in graduate student enrollment.

The University of Colorado Boulder’s head count is 33,220 – 27,602 undergraduate and 5,600 graduate students. Enrollment for underrepresented minority students set a record at 4,600, a 10.5 percent increase compared to last year. Undergraduate transfer students increased by more than 100 students – or 17 percent – in the past year. CU Boulder’s freshmen retention rate has risen to 87 percent from (historic) 84 percent. Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the magic number for retention is 92 percent, which typically converts into an 80 percent six-year graduation rate.

Enrollment at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs is 12,476 – 10,491 undergraduate and 1,985 graduate. The campus saw a 1.2 percent decline in new freshmen and a 7.7 percent dip in international student enrollments, following the national trend. Colorado residents account for 82 percent of new enrollees and 85 percent overall. The UCCS retention rate dropped from 68 percent to 65 percent in the past year. Chancellor Venkat Reddy said the campus is looking at programs that might be affecting the percentage. Read more on UCCS enrollment in Communique.

The University of Colorado Denver reached 15,000 students, 1.6 percent more than in fall 2016. Of those, 10,783 are undergraduates and 4,217 are graduate students: A 1.4 percent decrease in graduate students was offset by a 2.8 percent rise in undergraduates. The freshman class is its most diverse yet with 55 percent being students of color. CU Denver’s freshmen retention rate is 71 percent, up from 68 percent a year ago, Chancellor Dorothy Horrell said. Retention for students of color is slightly higher at 71.7 percent.

Students at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus number 4,226, showing 1.4 percent growth overall, with 492 undergrads and 3,734 graduate students. The College of Nursing is seeing strong enrollment in its B.S. to Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, which launched this fall. The Master of Public Health Program Health program increased 8.5 percent. Retention across CU Anschutz has historically remained in the high 80s, Chancellor Don Elliman said. He noted diversity has been consistent overall, and has grown considerably this year in the School of Dental Medicine. In the past, the school has had one or two African-American students; fall’s class includes 11.

Retention is strong across the campuses, Saliman said.

“The increases in enrollment at every campus are lower than the increase in the freshman class,” Saliman said. “That means that each campus is doing a good job of recruiting transfer students and retaining current students.”