Enrollment decreases ninth consecutive year


Abbie Holmes

The total fall 2020 student enrollment is 8,565. The goal was 8,690.

Rhonda Wheeler, Editor-in-Chief

Enrollment has declined for the ninth year in a row.  

It was revealed there was a 1.4% decrease in enrollment during an update at the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 3. The current fall 2020 headcount is 8,565. The goal for this semester was 8,690.

There are 1,293 new freshmen this year and 451 new transfer students. There are also 711 new graduate students this semester.

The university had 4,851 returning undergraduate students and 972 continuing graduate students.

The overall student population last fall was 8,690. Of that, 1,585 were new freshmen. 509 were new transfer students. 545 were new graduate students. 4,840 were continuing undergraduate and 950 were continuing graduate. 

New graduate students and continuing undergraduate and graduate students were the only areas that exceeded their goals.

There were 8,962 students in 2018, according to the USI 2019 Fact Book. In 2017, there were 9,014 students enrolled at the university.

President Ron Rochon said during the meeting students want to be at USI.

“They want to be here with one another and they want to see their faculty and staff,” Rochon said. “I will tell you the responses I’ve been receiving from students (have) been extremely positive and very, very productive.”

The Education Advisory Board (EAB) completed a survey to see how enrollment leaders are responding to COVID-19. They received results from 250 universities.

The survey found 36% of the universities are experiencing a decline in visit requests. 50% weren’t and 15% were unsure. 

When asked about on a scale from one to five how concerned the universities were about yielding the fall 2020 classes, 18% said three, 32% said four and 43% said five.

The survey also said a majority of enrollment leaders are working on a scenario for how to deal with students who weren’t able to complete high school due to COVID-19.

“Currently, only 5% of respondents have a plan in place to address this, but 65% are working on a plan,” wrote Madeleine Rhyneer, dean of enrollment management at EAB. 

Jacob Candler, a senior criminal justice major, said he didn’t have any thoughts about not returning to campus and he was excited to come back and stay in housing.

“I felt relieved to come back to campus,” he said. “I was worried about being sent home right away because of a huge spike or something.”