6 more stories of COVID-era enrollment wins

High Point University in North Carolina holds socially distanced block parties each afternoon
By: | October 8, 2020
A family celebrates with a student during staggered move in days at High Point University in North Carolina.A family celebrates with a student during staggered move in days at High Point University in North Carolina.

Colleges and universities across the U.S. continue to report enrollment increases—including for in-person students—while also maintaining a semblance of traditional campus life.

High Point University in North Carolina, where record-setting enrollment grew by 5.6% this fall, holds socially distanced, outdoor block parties each afternoon.

Students, who are attending classes in person, must also wear masks while listening to bands and enjoying free food trucks, President Nido Qubein tells University Business.

“We want to have an atmosphere of, if not celebration, at least an atmosphere of fellowship,” Qubein says.


More from UB: Here are 3 universities that grew fall 2020 enrollment


At the outset of the COVID pandemic, Qubein says, he and his leadership team made a concerted plan to communicate on a near-daily basis with students and parents, via video calls, email and other methods.

The administration also tripled the size of the campus health clinic and expanded its staff, and secured a large supply of rapid and long-term COVID tests.

“We ensured that our High Point University community—including staff, faculty and families—were informed, involved, engaged and inspired,” he says. “I really believe we created a sense of confidence that we were prepared.”

High Point had its largest-ever enrollment, with 5,632 students, including an increase in first-year and graduate students.

The university also brought in its most diverse class ever, and set a fundraising record of $50 million for the last academic year, Qubein says.

High Point has rented floors of local hotels to quarantine infected students. Currently, the school is caring for about 20 students and no faculty or staff members are infected.

More enrollment success

Neumann University in Pennsylvania grew enrollment by 4.8% over fall 2019, with the number of students rising from 2,391 to 2,506.

A Neumann University student participates in a daily health screening.

A Neumann University student participates in a daily health screening.

Undergraduate enrollment increased by 2% while graduate enrollment surge by 15%.

Neumann’s president, Chris Domes, attributes the growth to offering hybrid and all-online instruction, the creation of dozens of virtual admissions events, and aggressively communicating campus safety measures to students and parents.


More from UB: 4 more schools see enrollment boosts during COVID


Also in Pennsylvania, Lackawanna College set an enrollment record with 1,888 students at its seven locations. Enrollment at the school has grown by 31% since the 2015-2016 academic year.

Lackawanna College also created virtual enrollment events and offered student support services remotely. The college also froze its 2020-21 tuition.

“With the pandemic, we are seeing that many students are looking to stay close to home instead of going to a larger city or university,” said T.J. Eltringham, Lackawanna College’s chief operating officer.

Here are three more schools reporting enrollment growth


UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.