Spring enrollment for 2021 declined at UWG because of the increase of COVID-19 cases on campus.
It has been five months since UWG has reopened and students were able to return to campus and attend face-to-face classes. UWG took the proper precautions and implemented guidelines to ensure the student’s safety during the fall 2020 semester. However, there were still employees and students that were exposed to COVID-19. There was even a sporadic outbreak of COVID-19 on the school’s campus in October.
“There were 13,419 students enrolled at UWG in the fall 2020 semester,” said UWG’s Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Justin Barlow. “The data is not complete yet for spring 2021 but new undergraduate enrollment has declined over the past year as students face the uncertainty of COVID-19.”
Although there were over 13,000 students enrolled at UWG in the fall 2020 semester, over 1,000 students did not return to UWG for the spring 2021 semester. Some students who did not return decided that it was best for them not to enroll in college for the spring semester for their own safety.
“More than 1,300 admitted students last fall didn’t enroll in any institution not just at UWG,” said Barlow. “New transfer students have even declined as students have chosen to remain where they are which benefited UWG’s own retention.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic affected student enrollment for the spring 2021 semester, UWG decided to focus on making their students who are currently enrolled feel safe. Students have face-to-face classes but are required to follow the guidelines and procedures that the Georgia Department of Public Health and the University System of Georgia have implemented.
“We have implemented numerous health and safety protocols,” said Barlow. “Protocols implemented this semester include instructional modalities for physical distancing, the requirement for everyone to wear a face-covering and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. Our goals and expectations are for the students to engage in responsible behaviors so that we may continue to offer valuable face-to-face instruction for the remainder of the semester.”
To increase student enrollment in the future UWG focused on developing an online system that offers information about UWG to those who are interested, but do not feel comfortable touring the campus in person.
“Over the past year, all university offices focused on supporting students’ enrollment,” said Barlow. “At UWG we have worked to transition the enrollment process from in-person to virtual. “UWG has invested in a new online orientation that offers a significant amount of new, on-demand content,” continued Barlow. “Additionally, our enrollment processes are becoming increasingly focused on customer service through the opening of the Momentum Center on campus, a space where any question or need a student may have can be answered or resolved.”