[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — Forty-two percent more students are taking classes at Arizona State University’s high-profile downtown Phoenix campus this year, despite state budget cutbacks and the fact that overall university enrollment grew by only 1,000 students. Slightly more than 7,000 students took at least one class downtown this fall, up from 4,963 in fall 2008. As the campus grows in size and clout, it moves closer to what was envisioned when it was launched four years ago: a major economic generator for the heart of the city.
Enrollment figures were released to The Arizona Republic in response to a public-records request. The Republic’s analysis of ASU’s downtown enrollment includes only students who take at least one class in downtown Phoenix. The student count became an issue last year, after a Republic investigation revealed that ASU’s official enrollment count routinely included thousands of students who were affiliated with programs based downtown but did not attend any classes there, instead studying at other campuses. That news disappointed many in the downtown-business community who thought ASU’s enrollment figures represented a literal head count of new people downtown.
Business and city leaders continue to closely watch growth at the campus, which opened in fall 2006 with more than $200 million in city bond funding. Campus supporters promised voters that the project would help bring economic vitality and heavier foot traffic to the area. [Note: Read the full article at Enrollment soars at ASU downtown Phoenix campus.]