Fall enrollment surpasses spring projections

Photo of cars and people on a path in between buildings.
Students, parents and staff fill the walk way in between residents halls as they help incoming students move into their new home away from home.

The number of graduate credit hours increased 4.8 percent, and undergraduate credit hours were down only 4.4 percent, compared to year ago after the fall 2020 census date Sept. 10.

Headcount for graduate students was nearly same as last fall at 1,980 students, while undergraduate headcount was down 4.2 percent from last fall at 9,767. The total UCCS enrollment for fall 2020 is 11,747, an overall drop of 3.6 percent from a year ago.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m proud of the faculty and staff who created a campus learning environment that allowed our students to feel confident returning to campus this fall,” said Chancellor Venkat Reddy. “We conducted more than 600 online events during the summer with incoming and returning students to answer questions about what the fall would look like, and the credit goes to the faculty and staff who found innovative ways to offer a campus experience this semester.”

The School of Public Affairs experienced the strongest improvement at 15 percent compared to a year ago, generated in part by the launch of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in social work this fall. The College of Education grew by 1.6 percent with the success of programs in the Department of Leadership, Research and Foundations.

The athletic training, and the human physiology and nutrition programs, both housed in the new William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, expanded by a combined nine percent and contributed to an overall steady enrollment for the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Within the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the largest of the six colleges at UCCS, biology, history, visual and performing arts and technical communication and information design showed the strongest year-over-year gain.

Doctoral enrollment for computer science and security more than doubled from last year and contributed to a 6.8 percent in overall growth in graduate enrollment for the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The College of Business remained steady in both its undergraduate and graduate programs with its third-best enrollment in history.

UCCS kept tuition at the same rate as last year, and started a Chromebook loan program for all incoming students for use during their academic careers. Students at UCCS who complete a degree also graduate with less debt and higher average salaries than their peers based on reports generated by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

UCCS conservatively projected an undergraduate enrollment decrease of 15 percent in June to the Board of Regents when presenting budget models for the 2020-21 academic and fiscal year.

The campus created and implemented the Returning Stronger Together plan in the summer, which outlined a flexible plan designed to create an experience-rich campus experience within changing public health guidelines. More than 50 faculty, staff and students worked throughout the summer to create the framework that was adapted across the campus to welcome people back as safely as possible.