Enrollment is rising

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Despite the national trending decline of enrollment in college and universities, Longwood’s numbers are rising from last year.

According to National Student Clearinghouse, an educational nonprofit that provides research on North American colleges and universities, as of May 26 total enrollment for both undergraduate and graduate programs fell 4.1% following a 3.5% drop in spring 2021. Post secondary institutions have lost nearly 1.3 million students since 2020. Undergrad accounted for most of the decline with a 4.7% decline since spring 2021 making the group now 9.4% smaller than before the pandemic.

“We are certainly dealing with a lot of shift,” said Matthew McWilliams, assistant vice president of communications at Longwood University.

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According to McWilliams, Longwood did have a drop in its enrollment numbers in 2021. He believes this happened for many reasons, including the pandemic, economic conditions and college-aged adults not being ready.

However, for this upcoming fall 2022 semester, Longwood’s numbers are up 25% compared to last year’s. The number’s aren’t final as there are usually some who drop out and others who have yet to commit.

“We’ve built a strong class that exceeded last year’s numbers,” McWilliams said. “We are right on trajectory.”

According to McWilliams, he believes that even though the COVID-19 pandemic affected the numbers negatively in the past, this year it could be in the school’s favor. Due to forced online learning, many students are eager to return to in-person classes now that restrictions are lifted.

“One thing is that we can once again have students and families come for tours,” McWilliams said. “That’s kind of our bread and butter, having families come and see Longwood and Farmville and fall in love with the town. Longwood and Farmville are very easy to fall in love with and we are happy to welcome families back to town.”