Universities Look Outside the State to Fill the Enrollment Gap Left by LDS Missionaries.

Mar 25, 2013

Jasilyn Brinkerhoff, a USU sophomore, displaying her call to an LDS mission. She is one of many that will be taking an 18 month leave of absence from the University.
Credit Brinkerhoffs

With more students leaving for religious missions than ever before, Universities across the state are facing major enrollment dips.

Utah State University President, Stan Albrecht, said the school is still having difficulty estimating the fiscal consequences of this lower enrollment.

“We’re budgeting in a fog right now because we don’t really understand all of the impacts yet.”

Aiming to address the gap, Governor Gary Herbert signed into law a special measure that Albrecht says allows Universities to offer select out-of-state students in-state tuition.

“These are higher in students; we’ll focus on well-prepared students, but it really opens the door for us to bring in students.  So it will help us address some of the loss of students as a result of the change in the LDS missionary program.”

He said the legislative focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) majors will not have a noticeable impact on the students USU recruits.

“At the end of the day, basically they are saying, ‘Go recruit really good students. Let them major where they will major.  They will contribute significantly to society.’”

Until these students are found, Albrecht says the school will have to rely on the funds saved up for a rainy day.

“We had some resources that we protected last year.  We budgeted rather conservatively, not knowing what was ahead.  So we will apply those dollars and we will apply some tuition dollars.”


Brianna’s passion for journalism comes from a love of learning and a desire to know everything.  She studies Broadcast Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University and hopes one day to travel the world reporting hard news. She also works as the Aggie Radio news director and a reporter for USU TV.