NATCHITOCHES – Enrollment at Northwestern State University dipped slightly for the Spring 2022 semester, following state and national trends in which multiple disrupting factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and hurricanes that left parts of Louisiana devastated in 2020 and 2021, played a role.
Enrollment for Spring 2022 is 9,549, a decrease of 5.93 percent from a year ago. Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones said the university’s enrollment decline “reflects the significant negative impact of the pandemic and economic instability on students’ abilities to balance college studies with other factors in their lives.” Family members of numerous previously enrolled and prospective students have lost jobs, been unable to work for extended periods because of illness and faced other hardships, Jones said.
“The numbers that looked good for Northwestern for the Spring 2022 are the retention of freshmen, in particular the retention of traditional freshmen,” said Director of Enrollment Jana Lucky. “The retention for all entering freshmen increased by 4.43 percent and the retention for full-time entering freshmen increased by 3.91 percent. This is a reflection of our student-friendly faculty and staff that understand the importance of our students. They genuinely want them to succeed and graduate.”
Another factor in the drop was that for most of 2020 and 2021, recruiters from the university were unable to make normal visits to high schools because of closures and curtailed operations created by COVID. Last fall, recruiters were able to get back on the road for face-to-face visits with prospective students and their parents. Lucky said there has been an uptick in applications for admission.
Jones said, “State and federal funding allocated to universities to help mitigate enrollment and financial losses from the pandemic will provide fiscal stability this year, and enrollment growth that the university was experiencing before the national health crisis is anticipated in future years.”