DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > Winter 2021 census: Embracing challenges ahead

Winter 2021 census: Embracing challenges ahead

Winter 2021 campus
(DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)
​​Following an impressive enrollment performance for the fall 2020 quarter, DePaul enrolled 20,627 students this winter, 97.6% of the projected goal of 21,131 and down 3.1% compared to last winter.

“Nationally, postsecondary enrollment declined 3.3% this fall. While we previously outperformed the national average, enrollment is an annualized event, and quarterly performances do not have to be conclusive of our outcome for the year," says Soumitra Ghosh, vice president for Enrollment Management. “The effects of COVID-19 contributed to enrollment losses in the winter quarter. As a community focused on growth, we are already working to regain our position in the spring quarter."

DePaul's loss in the winter was prominent in undergraduate enrollment, which was about 3.2%, or 440 students, under this winter's budgeted goal of 13,384. Some of the loss can be attributed to a decline in new transfer student enrollment. Transfer enrollment of 276 is 70 students fewer than the budgeted goal, and 20.2% less than last year.

“This year we saw a substantial decrease in transfer applications," Ghosh says. Notably, more than half of this decline can be attributed to the reduction in applications from students who previously attended four-year colleges, a 33.8% decline over last year, or 176 applicants.

DePaul secured a record number of new freshmen with 40 students who joined DePaul this winter. This represents 274.6% of the budgeted goal of 15 and up 31 students over last year.

“We saw the largest number of fall freshman students defer their enrollment," Ghosh says. “We are paying close attention to ensure their experience is no different than if they joined us back in the fall."

Challenging macroeconomic conditions will persist in the near future and influence DePaul's strategic and financial planning.

“Quick, adaptive pivots in strategy and execution--from multimodal learning to multichannel recruitment--have helped us persevere," Gosh says. "We will continue to deliver on our commitment to the unique value of a DePaul education."