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Enrollment rates declining

Marketing and supply management fifth year Justin Russell checks in freshmen residents. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

Universities nationwide have spent the summer making accommodations put the minds of both students and staff at ease.

However, many universities, including SVSU, are facing a decrease in enrollment.

While returning student numbers remain strong, there have been major declines in new students, such as freshmen, international and transfer students.

Deborah Huntley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, explained that enrollment numbers were expected to be five to six percent what they were for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“At this point, … the declines have been in new students,” Huntley said. “This was expected due to the uncertainties imposed by the global pandemic and its consequences. Many universities across the state are reporting similar enrollment declines.”

Some students have voiced concerns about the cost of college in a time when things are so uncertain, Huntley said.

“Many students are choosing to defer admission to college until things return to normal,” she said. “Others have significant financial concerns due to the high unemployment rates caused by the pandemic. We have been working through these issues with students.”

Huntley said the decline in enrollment may have been caused in part by reduced on-campus housing.

Housing capacity for the up- coming academic year has been reduced to eliminate shared bed- rooms,” she said. “Our expectation is that final occupancy will be around 2,200 students. There was a strong demand for housing this fall, and we still have a wait list. Once move-in is complete, additional placement of students in housing is possible for those students who are waitlisted.”

Enrollment for online classes at SVSU, however, has seen a rise.

“This fall, about 30 percent of classes are online, compared to about 10 percent in past years,” Huntley said. “In addition, about 50 percent of classes are either hybrid or face-to- face with significant hybrid character.”

Huntley said she is optimistic about the enrollment situation this upcoming academic year and excited to have students back on campus.

“We are really happy to be welcoming students back,” Huntley said. “The university has done a great job recruiting and retaining students in a challenging time, and given the circumstances, our enrollment situation is really very positive.”

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