Minority enrollment also has increased.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Enrollment at Youngstown State University has a hit a nine-year high, with 13,101 full- and part-time students.
The total also reflects an increase for the fourth year in a row.
Official numbers released Monday show that the number of students attending classes this fall is the highest since 1995, when it was 13,273, and represents a 1.9-percent increase over last fall's enrollment of 12,858.
The latest numbers show an 11.1-percent increase over the 11,787 students enrolled in the fall of 2000, the same year Dr. David Sweet became president. Enrollment has increased every year since then, after having declined for a decade, Sweet said.
The university also calculates full-time equivalent enrollment. That number is up from 10,311 last fall to 10,518 this fall, the university said. FTE enrollment has jumped by 1,315 since fall 2000.
Sweet's top goalSweet says increasing the enrollment has been his No. 1 goal since coming to campus. He credits the success to a "concerted effort on part of the campus community" and the offering of a quality education.
"We continue to have a focus on quality education at a reasonable cost," he said. "A student and family members [making a college choice] are looking for a quality education. I think we provide that here."
In an age of increasing college tuition, Sweet said YSU has the lowest tuition costs in Ohio and is lower than state university branches in nearby western Pennsylvania.
Sweet said the college also has responded to student interest and employment opportunities with programs such as a two-year technical degree in the engineering department.
The Bitonte College of Health and Human Services leads the enrollment surge with 12.2 percent more students than last year, he said. The college has increased from 2,090 last year to 3,297 this fall, for a 58-percent increase. This department meets an increasing need for nurses and other medical professionals and has established a master's degree in social work, Sweet said.
Looking aheadSweet said the university expects to increase the enrollment to 14,000 students by 2008, when it will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Other increases since last fall include new students, up 2.5 percent; transfer students, up nearly 14 percent; undergraduate enrollment, up 4.2 percent; and graduate students, up 9.7 percent.
Besides enrollment, Sweet said his other goals include increasing diversity and partnering with the community. The figures released Monday showed minority enrollment increased 8.2 percent. In furthering the partnership objective, the school enrolled its first class of ninth-graders in the on-campus high school.
With increased enrollment also comes increased costs, but it also means enhanced revenue, Sweet said. The budget that he presented in June projected tuition income at the equivalent of 10,241 full-time students, and the final number is 2.7 percent above that, Sweet said.