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Four by Four program in works at USU Eastern

USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson addresses the February Chamber of Commerce luncheon about the colleges Four by Four plan to get 4,000 students attending the school in four years.

Sun Advocate associate editor

The community college that has served Carbon County for 75 years has seen two years of enrollment declines and is asking the community to support an ambitious program to more than double the number of students in four years.

USU Eastern wants to have a headcount of 4,000 by 2017. Its current number is about 1,800.

The college has launched a "Four in Four" campaign to achieve that goal. At last Thursday's Chamber of Commerce meeting, Chancellor Joe Peterson outlined the project for the business community.

Peterson stated that the sustained recruitment drive needs the support of the region. One crucial fact for people to remember, he explained, is that their local college is unique in Utah. USU Eastern is the only community college that is also part of a major university.

This translates into an opportunity for students to earn a university degree at community college tuition. The chancellor said the families and students of southeastern Utah have to shed the impression that high-achieving high school students have to leave town to take the next step in their education. It is available right here.

Peterson cited a CNN Money report that ranked USU Eastern among the top three colleges in the nation for student success, meaning that alumni find jobs when they graduate.

He added that the college has traditionally been a magnet for nonresidents - students from out of town and their parents who come to visit. The students, visitors and employees of the college create revenue for area businesses.

In addition, the alumni who leave serve as "ambassadors" for Carbon County, able to create a positive feeling about the community. The college far and away attracts and dispatches far more of these ambassadors than any other institution.

The chancellor said that the college and community share common ideals: economic development, quality of life and community vitality.

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