Here are 3 universities that grew fall 2020 enrollment

Universities see growth in first-year and graduate students while expanding online offerings
By: | September 25, 2020
University of Houston-Downtown saw record enrollment, including its largest-ever first-year class.University of Houston-Downtown saw record enrollment, including its largest-ever first-year class.

At least one university set an enrollment record this fall, bringing in its largest-ever first-year class despite nationwide higher ed declines due to COVID.

The University of Houston-Downtown is reporting a record enrollment of 15,251 undergraduate and graduate students for fall 2020, a 4% increase over 2019-2020.

And its first-year class of nearly 1,500 students is its largest ever. The university also is reporting a 4.7% increase in credit hours taken by students.

“Now, we must work together to make sure these students successfully navigate the complexities of balancing higher education with the many challenges the pandemic has brought to our region,” Interim President Antonio D. Tillis said in a statement.


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The university is offering a majority of its fall courses (about 80%) online.

This summer, it also hosted its Gator Gateway first-year orientation entirely online this year. During the four-week event, students met with financial aid, advising, the register’s office, and success center and career coaches.

COVID enrollment advancements

In Virginia, Old Dominion University, which expected a decline, has seen a 2.5% enrollment boost over last fall.

The university saw growth at all levels, including in first-year students, which were up 1%. Graduate student enrollment rose by 4% over year, with students taking 5% more classes.

Old Dominion’s total enrollment at the school now stands at 24,233,

A substantial increase in online courses was a key in driving the enrollment growth, Jane Dané, associate vice president for enrollment management, said.’


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This fall, the university is offering more than 3,100 online courses, compared to about 1,100 last year.  This fall, 58% of its students are taking classes fully online.

The University of Dayton in Ohio also broker an overall enrollment record. It also set a full-time undergraduate enrollment record, with 8,322 students. Graduate enrollment also increased.

“We set a new record for enrollment and also established new records for racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity in our first-year class,” said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We’re excited to move to in-person delivery of courses.”


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