BYU enrollment increases for fall 2020

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Students sit outside on the first day of Fall Semester. (Preston Crawley)

Fall Semester at BYU shows a higher enrollment rate than last year. Fall 2019 had approximately 33,511 students taking classes. This semester has increased to 35,615 students enrolled.

“Part of the increase in enrollment is due to the high number of missionaries who returned early because of COVID-19,” BYU spokesperson Todd Hollingshead said. Another reason for the increase is the widespread accessibility due to many classes being offered online.

The new freshman class at BYU increased as well. There are 5,840 new freshmen for Fall 2020. Last year, there were 5,146 new freshmen. Of the Fall 2020 freshman class, 1,122 are from Utah. The number of transfer students at BYU also increased. There are 1,100 new transfer students for Fall 2020, an increase from 938 transfer students during Fall 2019.

At BYU, students from Utah make up just below 30% of the campus, 65% of students are from out of state and 5% are international students. Approximately 15% of students are taking remote courses only. The other 85% of students are taking a mix between online and campus classes.

Kana Goldsmith is a senior at BYU studying athletic training. Many of her classes for her major are only offered on campus, which made her decision to take classes easy, though she said she would have preferred to take online classes.

“I feel like that major is crucial to be hands on and in person. It is definitely difficult and a different experience when classes are online instead of in person,” Goldsmith said.

Among colleges and universities in Utah, Southern Utah University is leading the state in enrollment growth. In a university news release, SUU announced that enrollment has increased by 12% from fall 2019.

“Not only are we leading growth in Utah, but we’re probably leading growth among public universities throughout the entire nation. This is exciting news for SUU,” SUU President Scott L. Wyatt said.

BYU’s neighboring university, Utah Valley University has seen an increase in students from Utah. “We found that students are staying closer to home during the pandemic,” UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez said.

This chart shows the enrollment numbers for Fall 2020 at Utah universities with information from Utah System of Higher Education and Brigham Young University. (Thomas Madrigal)

The National Student Clearing House data shows that national undergraduate college enrollment has dropped 2.5%. Data has been analyzed for 26 states so far, which concludes that 19 states have fewer undergraduate students this fall compared to 2019.

Not all universities have seen a decline in enrollment. Purdue University had a record high of 46,114 students enroll for Fall 2020. The university attributed the increase, which has risen consecutively over the last eight years, to a tuition freeze in 2012. Another reason for the number of new students is the communication from the university.

“Our staff and faculty have done a great job in reaching out in a variety of ways to welcome our new students, especially during the uncertainty of the spring,” said Kristina Wong Davis, Purdue vice provost for enrollment management, in a university news release.

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