By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University’s first-day head count for the fall semester slipped 3.4 percent from the same time last year.
Classes started Wednesday. Fall enrollment numbers won’t be official until the 14th day of the semester, but Ron Cole, university spokesman, said Wednesday’s head count was 13,336, down from 13,811 the first day of fall semester 2012.
“It definitely can and will fluctuate,” Cole said.
YSU budgeted for a 1 percent enrollment decline this fall, but earlier this week, President Randy Dunn said in his State of the University address the number would be higher than that.
Every 1 percent enrollment decline equates to about $1 million in revenue loss.
This marks the third- consecutive year of enrollment decline after a couple of years of near-record numbers.
Fall 2012 enrollment dropped 5 percent to 13,813, compared with fall 2011’s 14,540.
The number of students enrolled also dipped the previous year from 15,194 in fall 2010 to 14,540 in fall 2011.
Dunn said department heads are devising plans to deal with smaller budgets, but the university isn’t talking about specific cuts until the enrollment numbers are finalized. He did say earlier this week that the university will try to make reductions that aren’t in people.
The decreased enrollment comes despite what university officials were forecasting last year.
Last November, then-President Cynthia Anderson told YSU trustees that the numbers looked better than they had for some time. YSU had increased its marketing efforts with television commercials and billboards, trying to attract students.
Dunn has said he wants to target recruiting efforts in other areas both in and outside of Ohio to try to draw more students to campus.