DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Spring 2021 census and fall outlook

Spring 2021 census and fall outlook


Egan statue
(DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)

According to National Student Clearinghouse, enrollment across all institution types fell 2.9% this spring compared to last year. However, DePaul continues to perform better than the average, with a 2.7% decline compared to last spring. Overall, DePaul enrolled 19,008 students, 97% of the projected goal of 19,597 students.

“Strategic pivots from our division and campus partners have allowed us to mitigate greater losses during these challenging conditions," says Soumitra Ghosh, vice president for Enrollment Management. “As a resilient institution that has always stood on the frontier for making our students successful, we will continue to innovate and enhance our teaching, learning, engagement and service models. Our ability to reinvent ourselves is our best anchor as the speed of change accelerates around us."

One example of adapting with agility to such change can be seen in new transfer enrollment. Nationally and regionally, transfer mobility has declined significantly, particularly transfer between four-year institutions, and community colleges have suffered tremendous enrollment loss.

“On ​the ground market knowledge of our newly-formed transfer recruitment and admissions team, as well as analytic insight, allowed us to focus on growing enrollment from historical two-year feeder colleges," Ghosh says. “While we enrolled 113 new transfer students, 91.1% of the projected goal and down 13.8% compared to last year, we are now better prepared for fall transfer enrollment."

Additionally, DePaul enrolled 370 new master's students, compared to the budgeted goal of 489 and down 13.8% compared to last spring.

“The decline points to not only market volatility, but also compels us to continue to adapt in order to provide value that meets the needs of a more diverse and discerning student base," Ghosh says.

Despite the continuation of overall declining enrollment trends, there is early indication of another strong incoming freshman class at DePaul. On National Decision Day, May 1, freshman deposits totaled 2,854. Compared to this day in 2020 and 2019, DePaul was ahead 47.5% and 3.9%, respectively.

“Last year, we extended our deposit deadline to June 1, where we had 3,096 deposits. This means we still have ground to cover and summer melt will be top of mind as we enter into the summer season," Ghosh says. “To curb summer melt, admissions is finding new and innovative ways to strengthen the relationships they have built with prospective students."