U of I enrollment drops 2.6 percent

Fall enrollment is down at the University of Idaho, and outgoing president Chuck Staben said the numbers are disappointing.

The U of I’s enrollment came in at 11,841, a 2.6 percent decrease.

“We have made many positive changes to our overall student recruitment processes over the past year and while we are disappointed these improvements have not immediately resulted in an increase in enrollment, we recognize we need to stay the course and continue moving forward until the changes take hold and yield results,” Staben said in a news release.

One reason for the drop: Fewer in-state students chose the U of I. Resident undergraduate enrollment dropped by 3.7 percent.

Nonresident enrollment remained flat.

Still, some numbers showed some promise:

  • Student retention remained more or less stable. Eighty-one percent of students returned for their second year, a slight dropoff from 82 percent the previous year. Two years ago, the retention rate was 76 percent. “We know we are making progress in key areas, including retaining the students who are already part of the Vandal family,” Staben said.
  • Eighty-nine American Indian students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs, a 20 percent increase.
  • Hispanic student enrollment increased by 2 percent. In all, 935 Hispanic students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs.
  • Dual-credit enrollment has exceeded U of I’s strategic planning goals, with 1,805 high school students taking college-level classes.

The U of I’s dropoff appears consistent with the trends, as Idaho continues to struggle to convince high school graduates to stay in school.

Idaho’s college go-on rate has stagnated at about 45 percent. Meanwhile, Idaho State University reported a 2 percent enrollment decrease for 2018.

Boise State University has not yet released its fall enrollment numbers.



Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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