UAS enrollment on the rise; dorms filling up

Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Fall enrollment at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau is up, officials say.

It's premature to say how many full-time undergraduates will be enrolled this fall. But it could be about 100 more than last year's roughly 800 students, said UAS spokesman Kevin Myers.

"We're hoping it's going to be a record," Myers said.

School officials are encouraging local high school graduates to register soon, before dorm space and classes fill up.

The college has seen an increase in deposits for student housing for this time of year, with only about 20 openings left, Myers said. Usually, there are beds available early in the academic year.

Some upper-level courses are filled already, and the university is adding sections to some lower-level courses to accommodate students, Myers said.

"A lot of people have registered already," he said.

The university urged returning students to register early so officials could plan for a sufficient number of course sections.

Applications for all UAS programs combined, ranging from certificates to graduate degrees, were at about 550 last week, 100 more than at this time last year, he said.

The university is seeing an increase in transfer students from the Lower 48, especially the Pacific Northwest, where some four-year public universities don't have the space to take transfers from community colleges.

Last month, Central Washington University in Ellensburg closed fall admissions to transfers for the first time since 1987. The University of Washington in Seattle recently announced it won't admit community college transfers before next spring and possibly not until next summer.

"The fundamental issue is we just don't have enough seats in the university," university President Mark A. Emmert told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Meanwhile, UAS has been marketing itself at community colleges in Oregon and Washington. It ran full-page ads in student newspapers, such as the Bellevue Community College Jibsheet.

"Gain the unfair advantage," the ad says in type spread over a photo of serene Auke Lake, a mirror of the woods and mountains.

The phrase refers to the integration of the curriculum to the nearby wilderness, the ad explains. But it could just as well refer to costs.

Students from 15 Western states can enroll in the state university of any member state in the Western Undergraduate Exchange for the price of in-state tuition plus 50 percent. (Some states, but not Alaska, won't accept California students for the special rate.)

UAS also recruited at high schools in Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula this year, followed up by ads on movie screens and the radio. It was the first time in seven years that UAS made such an effort there, Myers said.

And UAS advertised in the New York Times' quarterly education supplement and Backpacker magazine.

Students can register early into the academic year, which starts Sept. 7. But Myers suggested that prospective students apply by Aug. 1 so the university has time to process requests for financial aid.

• Eric Fry can be reached at eric.fry@juneauempire.com.



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