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YOUNGSTOWN STATE Human services fuels enrollment jump

Friday, February 11, 2005

The university is responding to today's job market, a spokesman said.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown State University says its enrollment is 36 higher than it was last spring. The university student population is now 12,396.
In January, at the beginning of the term, YSU had announced that spring enrollment was up 185 over last spring, but YSU spokesman Ron Cole explained that the count isn't official until the 14th day of the semester, when it is submitted to the Ohio Board of Regents.
In that two weeks, more students register and others drop classes, he said. There have been years when numbers have gone way up in that two-week period, he said.
In the beginning of the 2004 fall semester, YSU announced a nine-year enrollment high of 13,101. However, Cole said, spring semester enrollment is traditionally lower than fall.
YSU's Bitonte College of Health and Human Services shows the largest increase, from 2,718 students last spring to 3,056 this spring, an increase of 12.4 percent, officials said.
"HHS is growing by leaps and bounds," Cole said.
He attributed that growth to the popularity of certain courses of study, such as criminal justice, nursing, social work and hotel and restaurant management. These are particularly popular in terms of job opportunities, he said.
"We are responding to the job market," Cole said.
Enrollment in the College of Fine and Performing Arts (1.7 percent) and the College of Arts and Sciences (0.7 percent) also increased this spring.
The university's full-time equivalent enrollment is 9,731, up 0.1 percent from 9,718 last spring. FTE enrollment was 8,665 in spring 2000. It has increased by more than 1,000 -- or 12.3 percent -- since.
Minority enrollment increased by 9 percent, from 1,619 last spring to 1,794 this spring.
YSU's enrollment goal is to reach 14,000 by fall 2008. Enrollment in HHS was 2,029 four years ago and has increased by more than 1,000 students since then.
"By and large, HHS is leading the way without question," Cole said.
Since 2001, Cole said, each semester has had higher enrollment than the same semester in the previous year.
Fall-over-fall or spring-over-spring growth can, in part, be attributed to finances and marketing, he said, pointing to the university's comparatively low tuition and financial aid packages he called among the best in the state.
Also, YSU is reaching out of the Mahoning Valley for students. The school has expanded its marketing in the Cleveland area, Cole said, and the relatively new 400-bed apartment complex in Smoky Hollow has opened up housing to more students from outside the area.