Point University sees remarkable rebound in post-pandemic student enrollment
Published 11:00 am Friday, June 30, 2023
In 2020, college campuses around the country began to close down or shift to online learning as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed. Like so many colleges during this time, Point University saw a decrease in its residential student population.
“The pandemic definitely took a hit on our residential students,” said Chief Enrollment Officer Rusty Hassell. “They didn’t feel comfortable coming in those circumstances and uncertainty and not knowing if things will be shut down.”
However, Hassell said the college’s population has rebounded and may even surpass pre-pandemic numbers thanks to the new digital marketing and other strategic initiatives.
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“Our numbers through the admission funnel has actually surpassed even pre pandemic numbers,” Hassell said. “So we’ve actually been really excited to see that.”
Initially, the population that was hit the hardest was the traditional residential students. Students who were living in college-provided residencies felt the risk they were taking.
“They were more hesitant and unfamiliar with kind of the virtual experience,” Hassell said. “And Point as well as every other institution had to figure out not only how to make the transition, but also still provide that high-level, quality educational experience for the students and keep them engaged and stuff.”
More than that, Point staff were no longer able to visit college fairs and other recruitment events due to social distancing. Logan Gann, director of Admission, worked to update the college’s communication methods and enhance its digital footprint.
“She has been very creative and working with her team to help be intentional and set Point apart throughout the recruiting process,” Hassell said.
Now, Point is seeing positive trajectory in all of the offered programs and categories of student population. By partnering with businesses and forming strategic initiatives, the online program’s population has grown from around 200 to over 1000 in the last year.
Hassell said Point has also launched a new internal online enrollment team that helps with outreach and “serving this very quickly growing online population.”
Point’s MBA program increased from 15 students to over 100. Dual enrollment student numbers are rising again as well.
During the spring 2023 semester, enrollment across the board was at 2,618. About 430 of those were traditional students, 840 of those were dual enrollment students and the rest were online learners.
With West Point’s large athletic population, the college also saw a dip in enrollment as games and seasons had to be canceled or cut short to avoid social distancing. To help encourage recruitment and retention, Point University introduced its women’s flag football program this year.
Chase Dial, director of First Year Experience, has launched new initiatives to make students aware of their resources and promote enrollment retention.
For example, Dial ensures that students grouped together during orientation week will share one of their institution-required courses as well.
“We learned from that experience really being intentional in the conversations and showing the value of ‘the Point experience’ throughout that process,” Hassell said.