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COLLEGES GAIN ENROLLMENT FOR SECOND YEAR
But Total Lags Far Behind Peak of Decade Ago

For Release: Wednesday, November 17, 1999, 2:30 pm.

HARTFORD, Nov. 17 – Enrollment is up across Connecticut colleges and universities for the second consecutive year - a positive trend although the growth is smaller and slower than officials at the Connecticut Department of Higher Education had hoped.

Final 1999 counts announced today by the Department show 157,784 students attending the state’s public and independent institutions of higher learning — an increase of 3,555 students or 2.3 percent above last year. This is the largest annual jump recorded in a decade but is still 11,384 students short of the peak year of 1989 when enrollment reached 169,132.

This fall, enrollment rose 2.7 percent at public institutions to 97,672, an increase of 2,578 students; and 2.0 percent to 60,112 at the independents, a gain of 977 students. Ten years ago, enrollment stood at 109,635 in the public sector, and 59,497 at the independents.

Commenting on the figures, Valerie F. Lewis, Commissioner of Higher Education, stated, "We are delighted to see evidence of real growth at our colleges. The baby boomlet has finally hit. More young people are available for college and are choosing Connecticut institutions. Recent campus renovations, tuition freezes and more funds for student financial aid are certainly helping turn more young people on to our colleges."

Lewis cautioned, however, that the figures should be put in context. "We still are far behind our peak of 10 years ago and our projected enrollment for 2000. We are particularly concerned about our public institutions where costs over the past 10 years have outpaced inflation by 21 percent but the number of students served has dropped 11 percent. This gap will only widen unless significant measures are taken to either hold costs or expand investment substantially."

Enrollment was up across all types of institutions in the public sector. At the University of Connecticut, counts rose 3.8 percent to 22,739 due to sizeable gains of 581 students at its Storrs Campus, and 181 students at its Tri-Campus (the new combined unit of UConn’s West Hartford, Waterbury and Torrington campuses).

The Connecticut State University System enrolled 984 more students overall for a percentage increase of 3.0 percent. The largest increase occurred at Southern, with 287 more students, followed by Eastern (up 263), and Western and Central with 217 more students each.

Eight of the 12 community-technical colleges posted gains. Across this system, enrollment grew 1.8 percent to 40,065. Housatonic’s new campus continues to draw new students, with 278 more enrolled for a total of 3,829. Large gains also occurred at Norwalk, Tunxis and Gateway. Counts fell at Asnuntuck, Capital, Manchester and Northwestern.

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a federal institution, enrolled 43 more students.

Within the independent sector, enrollment held steady among different types of institutions. At the four-year nationals, enrollment was virtually unchanged at 18,371. Trinity College and Connecticut College had increases, while minor dips occurred at Wesleyan and Yale.

Enrollment also held steady across the four-year regionals which together enrolled 39,383 students with the largest increases posted by Albertus Magnus (up 295), the University of Bridgeport (up 183) and Quinnipiac University (up 118). Losses occurred at the University of New Haven (down 490), followed by St. Joseph College (down 84) and Fairfield University (down 81).

At the two-year independents, enrollment grew greatly overall due to the addition of the new Goodwin College to the mix, and a change in counting methods at Gibbs College.

Across both public and independent sectors this fall, full-time enrollment rose (up 5.2 % to 90,520) while part-time counts fell 1.4 percent to 67,264. Numbers of undergraduates grew 2.7 percent to 124,288, as did those for graduate and first-professional students (up 0.9% to 33,496). 

* * * * *

A copy of the Final Fall 1999 Connecticut College and University Enrollments is available. 


Contact: Connie Fraser
(860)947-1801


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