Today: Jun 24, 2024

University projects enrollment increase

Jaylen Carr – Editor-in-Chief

Jay’Mi Vazquez – News Editor

As the university has seen a decrease in enrollment in the last year, administrators are working to increase the number of students next year. 

In fall 2023, the overall headcount is 8,820 students, and the university projects an increase to 9,307 total students in fall of 2024. 

“We want to increase the number of new first-year students, new transfer students and readmitted students,” said Julie Edstrom, the vice president for enrollment management. “We want to increase retention in our continuing students, and graduate has seen more growth than undergraduate in the last two years, so we want to see that continue.” 

The university needs 282 additional students to achieve their goal of a 3.5% increase, Edstrom said.  There were 69 fewer students enrolled from the fall of 2022 to 2023, going from 8,889 to 8,820. 

“We are still not back at the level of enrollment that we were at before the pandemic, but we were projecting that we were going to be down 3% in our headcount, and we actually managed to be less than 1% down,” Edstrom said.  

Since his address, Interim President Dwayne Smith and the administration have highlighted that retention will be critical moving forward for the university’s sustainability. 

The university is prioritizing improving retention and recruiting students at the undergraduate and graduate levels in hopes of seeing the projected increase in enrollment, Edstrom said.  

The university administrators have focused on increasing enrollment by having the university be present at college fairs, visiting high schools, email marketing campaigns and social media marketing, Edstrom said.  

“We have been especially focusing on Connecticut,” Edstrom said. “We would like to expand enrollment from other states, but the reality is that if you look nationally, students want to choose a school that is conveniently located to them, and affordability is a factor here, too.” 

The main goal for the university is to increase the daily campus visits through their program, and Edstrom claims that that has been going encouragingly well. 

Significant events like Admissions Open House are also ways the university tries to increase enrollment by inviting prospective undergraduate students looking to attend a university in the future to these events.  

There are currently 1,227 new first-year students; the university projects that the number will increase to 1,300. For new transfers this semester, there are 766 students, with hopes to increase to 800 for the upcoming year.  

The campus has only seen an increase in enrollment twice in the past decade; 2014 and 2022. 

Attributes that students bring to the campus, like being a first-generation student, coming from a low-income family or being a minority student, can make them prone to having more challenges in completing their degree on time, Edstrom said. 

This includes having accessible resources, such as the financial aid program and the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services, CASAS, that help students get to the college academic level to help with any obstacles students may face.  

“A huge factor is mental health, and we have tried to increase our support in our investment in what we make available in overall health and well-being,” Edstrom said.  

Of all the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, CSCU, the university has the second-highest enrollment behind Central Connecticut State University.  

One of the primary reasons students attend the university is because of the diverse community and how intentional the university is in ensuring everyone feels welcome, Edstrom said.  

“Being a place where lots of students with different identities can feel welcomed, supported, respected, valued and that doesn’t happen,” Edstrom said. “I think we are one of the most diverse campuses.” 

Also, the campus has received updates with new facilities like the School of Business Building and has many programs for students to achieve their passions. 

Some students voiced their opinions on why they picked this university to attend.  

Exercise sports science major Maximus Fuller, a freshman, said he was recommended to attend the university by some of his friends. His interest in the men’s track and field team is also what drew him to the university.   

“I like the campus. I don’t see myself going anywhere else. I’m not really interested anywhere else because I like the community that is offered here,” Fuller said.  Undecided major Fernando Osorio, a freshman, said he plans on staying at the university.  

Osorio said he feels supported at the university because of the amount of diversity in the community. He said that the community has really enriched his experience so far, and he looks forward to continuing his experience at the university.   

“My favorite part of the university is how many things are always going on. There are a bunch of different options that you can get involved in as well,” Osorio said.   

Computer science major Mardocher Youte, a freshman, said he applied to numerous schools, but the university was the best fit for him because of the community aspect and price.    

“The people are what made it good for me. Plus, being close to home is nice since I commute,” Youte said.  

Healthcare studies major Emma Guadalupe, a freshman, said that financial aid covered her dorm fees, so that is why she chose the university.  

“I like the people and having my own space away from my house. It’s helpful to have my own space away for myself,” Guadalupe said. “I have my friend group, and everybody that I’ve interacted with has been nice and welcoming.”  

Business major Henry Huinac, a sophomore, said he chose the university because he knew people who attended before him. He wanted to get the experience for himself, so he applied and got in.  

“I like the professors, the courses and the overall community. It’s a fun place to be,” Huniac said. “I’ve made many friends.” 

Health science major Katherine Figueroa, a freshman, said she chose the university because it is affordable and close to home.  

“It’s also a welcoming environment. I like the people, and the courses aren’t too bad,” Figueroa said. “It’s just a good university; everyone is really nice, and the professors are very understanding.”  

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