ALBANY — Despite the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Albany State University officials announced this week a 6% enrollment increase for the fall 2020 semester. Enrollment figures are the highest at the university in the past three years.
Officials at the university said ASU’s ability to “pivot” in its recruitment efforts was key to the uptick in student enrollment.
“We made the shift from in-person to virtual instruction immediately back in March,” ASU Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Kenyatta Johnson said Friday afternoon. “President (Marion) Fedrick was instrumental in securing the technology our students needed to continue instruction.
“And now, in all of our degree program offerings, we’re still giving our students options. We have hybrid opportunities for study, a choice of on-campus or online. And even with our students who study virtually, the instruction is synchronous; it’s online, but it’s offered in real-time. That makes a difference.”
The university also has implemented strategic scholarship allocations, recruitment strategies, and student success programs to boost enrollment. ASU assists students in need through scholarships such as the Golden RAM Retention Grant (GAP Scholarship), the Local Scholars Grant and many more through the ASU Foundation.
“Students and parents continue to be impressed by our range of over 60 programs and our continued commitment to academic excellence and student success,” Johnson said. “The student success initiatives we have launched in the past year have assisted with retention and improved upon the collegiate experience.”
ASU also has launched student success programs to ensure continued academic excellence and student success as part of the its Golden RAM Guarantee. Some of these programs are virtual and face-to-face study table, adding a virtual component to peer tutoring and math and English tutoring centers, the Academic Success Coach Initiative, and combining the enrollment service center into the one-stop-shop, RAM Central.
The university also has adjusted its method of recruitment, Johnson said.
“Instead of going to the high schools to talk with students, we bring the high schools to us through a Web presence,” the ASU VP said. “We meet them where their technology is, so that we’re actually able to set up 30-minute, one-on-one sessions with recruiters.
“Many of the college fairs that we’ve held in the past are now virtual as well.”
Johnson said that while students lament the fact that there are no football games and no homecoming celebration planned this year, they have adjusted well to the “new normal” at the university.
“Students miss many of the social elements of the college experience on-campus, but students have pivoted with us,” Johnson said. “Those who choose to complete their studies virtually do so by choice. They’re doing what’s best for them and their families. We support them in whatever method of study they choose.”
The application deadline to apply for spring 2021 semester at ASU is Nov. 1. In addition to multiple student success initiatives, ASU offers research opportunities, study-abroad programs, community engagement, and more than 50 student organizations.
Students can apply at www.asurams.edu/apply.