Fall is one of the best times to be on a university campus, and at Boise State I think we have it better than most.
Boise’s fall weather is crisp and comfortable, with the leaves across campus and along the Boise River turning vibrant yellow and red. And we win most of our football games – at least more than nearly every university in the country since 2000.
For the past three years, we’ve welcomed the largest first-year class in university history. This fall, 2,884 first-time students enrolled at Boise State — an increase of 3.4 percent over last year. Idaho residents in this class increased by 3.7 percent, while out-of-state students increased by nearly 3 percent.
Boise State University’s overall fall enrollment has reached yet another new record with 25,540 students, an increase of 5.7 percent over last year. Included in the total are 2,287 students pursuing master’s degrees and 350 pursuing doctoral degrees, many of whom are supported by external funding for research that continues to grow, and now amounts to about $50 million a year.
As you know, we strive to provide a signature undergraduate education, world-class research and graduate studies, and the kind of community connections, partnerships and leadership opportunities that can only exist in a metropolitan university within a thriving city. So, it is gratifying to know that more Idaho high school graduates every year choose Boise State, and that students and their families from around the West and beyond see our campus as a welcoming and engaging academic home.
Those of us on campus can attest to the dramatic changes we have seen in the traditional resident student body — they fill the Quad, classrooms, study spaces, and dining facilities every day. But I want to give you a broader overview of Boise State’s growth, because it illustrates just what our university is becoming on the national and international scale.
A significant part of the university’s overall increase is due to continued growth in the number of Idaho high school students taking advantage of low-cost concurrent enrollment classes. Taking this kind of college course is a proven way for these students to get a head start on college and increase their likelihood of earning a degree. This year, 5,261 are enrolled in these college-level courses through Boise State — an increase of 83 percent over the past five years. The state and its universities subsidize the cost of these credits as part of the overall effort to ensure that 60 percent of Idahoans between the ages of 25 and 34 have college degrees or certificates.
We are also offering more online opportunities than ever before for students around Idaho and beyond. Boise State offers more than 40 degrees and certificates entirely online. This fall, 2,184 undergraduates are taking their courses entirely online, up 86 percent from fall 2014, as are 1,393 graduate students — a 61 percent increase in that five-year time frame. In total, 36 percent of undergraduates and 43 percent of graduate students are taking at least one course online.
As Boise State continues to evolve as a metropolitan research university of distinction, we must continue to strive to meet the needs of a growing and diverse pool of students. Whether they are just starting off as Idaho teenagers, searching for a traditional residential college experience, coming back to boost their careers with degrees or certificates, or aspiring to the highest levels of academic achievement —with your help, we will continue to make Boise State the home, support system, and launching pad that these students need.
Thank you, as always, for all you do for Boise State – Go Broncos!