By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The University of Wyoming saw a 3% drop in enrollment for the 2021 fall semester, the university announced this week.
According to census data collected on the 15th day of classes, UW announced Monday it has enrolled a total of 11,479 students this semester, down 3% from the overall enrollment of 11,829 last fall. The 15th class day is used because it falls after the class drop/add deadlines, and after the first tuition and fee payment is due.
However, the university also noted the number of first-time students from Wyoming attending the university has grown by 11.5% this fall, contributing to an overall 3.7% increase in UW’s first-time student enrollment.
Some 909 students from Wyoming have enrolled in the state’s university for the first time, up from 815 the year before and topping the pre-pandemic number of 902 in fall 2019. As a result, the total number of first-time students this semester has grown to 1,477 from 1,424 last year.
“We’re excited that our class of new freshmen, particularly those from Wyoming, has increased. It’s a sign that we are on our way to recovering from the losses incurred by higher education institutions nationwide,” UW Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Kyle Moore said. “After we enrolled the two largest freshman classes in UW’s history in 2018 and 2019, the financial and other uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been impactful and significant. We’re working hard to rebound as quickly as possible.”
The drop in nonresident students has been most pronounced, with a total of 3,644 students from out-of-state attending UW this fall, compared to 3,844 last fall.
There are 568 first-time nonresident students in this year’s class, down 6.7% from last fall’s 609.
At the same time, the number of nonresident transfer students enrolling this fall rose to 251 from 223 last year, a 12.6% increase.
“Across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many students to stay closer to home to start their college experience. It also has resulted in large decreases in community college enrollments in Wyoming and nationwide, which impacts transfer numbers,” Moore said. “The pandemic seriously hampered our ability last year to do face-to-face recruiting out of state and bring nonresidents in for campus visits, and that is reflected in our current numbers. We’re redoubling our efforts to recruit students from outside the state while still making recruitment of Wyoming students our No. 1 priority.”
There was also a 4.9% increase in graduate and professional students, rising from 2,610 from 2,487 last year. Moore credited collaborative marketing and recruitment efforts with academic departments as factors in the increase.