COLORADO SPRINGS — The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS) resumes classes when fall semester begins in four weeks. "Social distancing, we'll still have a lot of virtual options for students to take part, but we'll make sure students on campus can have that college experience as much as possible," said UCCS Director of Communication, Jared Verner. The return happens with an extensive COVID-19 plan in place.
A major variable in the midst of the on-going pandemic is figuring out how many students will attend this fall. “We knew in early May there were a lot of families in that maybe stage, whereas in a typical year they would've already told us, yes I'm coming or no I'm not," said Verner. Uncertainty, loss of jobs, international students unable to return, all contribute to lower enrollment.
It is an enrollment moving target for budget planners. Because of the on-going variables with COVID-19, at t UCCS a 15% enrollment drop was estimated. "Right now we're down 7% from what we were last year,” said Verner, “Considering we were down 22% at the beginning of May year to year, being down 7% is phenomenal." The number will likely change more in the weeks leading up to the start of classes. A number near the current percentage is considered manageable.
Undergraduates make up the bulk of students at UCCS. There is, however, another interesting trend with graduate students. Graduate enrollment is up 9% so far this year.