LOGAN, Utah (AP) – The president of Utah State University is headed to southern Idaho to try to recruit students for the Logan campus, where competition and a change in Utah law have contributed to an enrollment decline.

A USU delegation led by President Stan Albrecht begins its third annual Road Scholars Tour today.

“This is a very strong signal from the president that southern Idaho was Utah State University’s territory, and we want it back,” said John DeVilbiss, a university spokesman.

Utah State’s enrollment this fall is 23,128, down 780 students from 2004 and at its lowest level since 2001.

In 2001, there were 208 students from Idaho enrolled at USU. In 2004, there were 140, DeVilbiss said.

Two significant changes have contributed to the decline – a 2003 state law that boosted the number of credits that an out-of-state student needs to qualify for in-state tuition and the conversion of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, to a four-year institution as Brigham Young University-Idaho, DeVilbiss said.

The tour was to have started last Thursday in Preston, Idaho, but was postponed after the Sept. 26 van crash that killed eight USU agriculture students and their instructor near Tremonton.

The Preston visit will be rescheduled, said Whitney Wilkinson, a university spokeswoman.

This week, the delegation of USU administrators, professors and scholars will visit Idaho Falls, Pocatello and Malad.

The group will meet with prospective students, parents and community leaders and also will talk to school principals, administrators and counselors to get their input on higher education issues and the university.

“We have long-standing ties with southeastern Idaho communities,” Albrecht said.

“We have thousands of alumni still in the region.

Many of our best professors are from the area, and we continue to attract some of our best students from Idaho. Most important of all – these are our neighbors and friends.

It’s our turn to visit them.”

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