Updated: September 7, 2012 at 12:00 am
The number of students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is growing. Again.
Preliminary numbers show a record-breaking enrollment of 9,850 on-campus students, an increase of 529 students or 6 percent from a year ago. An estimated 2,000 additional students are enrolled in online and extended studies courses offered by the university.
Early enrollment reports also show a record-breaking number of freshmen enrolled this fall.
This year’s freshman class increased almost 8 percent to 1,457 students, a jump of 105 students from 2011.
“We’re growing with quality,” Chancellor Pamela Shockley-Zalabak said. “You don’t just grow to grow.”
She said the increasing enrollment shows the university delivers a quality education and experience. UCCS has the facilities and will be adding more faculty and staff, she said.
“We’re trying very hard to be visible to people as an option,” she said, adding that more prospective students are seeing the value of an education.
UCCS uses all its facilities fully, operating from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, said UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton.
“The good news is we have the chance to expand,” he said, since UCCS owns acreage that has yet to be developed adjacent to the current campus.
UCCS has seen a streak of record-breaking enrollment numbers for years. In the last 10 years, UCCS enrollment has increased by more than 32 percent. In the fall 2002 semester, UCCS enrolled 7,446 students. Just last year, the number of students enrolled jumped almost 5 percent. The freshman class alone increased by about 17 percent from 2010 to 2011.
“I don’t think there’s any magic formula,” Hutton said. “I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things.”
The university has been making moves to accommodate the ever growing number of students.
“We have added a lot of buildings in recent years,” Hutton said. “The programs we have continue to be in high demand.”
The Science and Engineering Building opened in 2009, despite several funding challenges during construction. A significant renovation of Centennial Hall, another science building, was completed two years ago.
Earlier this year, officials broke ground for the first building in the university’s next expansion area — an $18.5 million, 54,000 square-foot health sciences building at the corner of Austin Bluffs and North Nevada.
Two new residence halls are expected to open next fall, adding living space for another 200 students. UCCS officials also negotiated terms with Seagate Properties to use two buildings at nearby Sunset Creek Apartments as dorms.
UCCS classes began Aug. 20. Official enrollment reports won’t be available until after Monday. The detailed reports break down enrollment by a number of factors, and include counts from across the University of Colorado system.
UCCS isn’t alone in counting more students. Pikes Peak Community College has also seen a jump in enrollment.
The number of students taking a class increased 6.5 percent from 2011, said PPCC spokeswoman Allison Swickard. The number of full-time students increased 4.75 percent from last year.
However, enrollment figures change frequently, she said. There are courses that start later in the term, and some students who sign up for class never show up.
Contact Kristina Iodice: 636-0162