College expects rise in in-person spring enrollment

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Media: Cho Yin Rachel Lo

Students cross the intersection of Boylston St. and Tremont St.

By Alec Klusza, Assistant News Editor

Emerson administrators anticipate a “modest increase” in undergraduate enrollment in the college’s in-person classes this spring semester. 

Out of 2,900 undergraduate students that filled out the spring semester intent form, a mandated survey sent to students Oct. 9, 84 percent said they plan on attending a mix of in-person and remote instruction in the spring, preliminary data from the college’s Office of Enrollment indicates. 

“It does appear by reviewing the intent forms already received, that there is a modest increase in interest for the hybrid modality learning environment for spring,” Vice President for Enrollment Management Ruthanne Madsen said in an emailed statement to The Beacon. 

That data is subject to change as the college receives more responses to the intent form. Data on online-only learning enrollment, students who plan to take leaves of absences, and graduate student enrollment was not immediately available.

The anticipated bump comes after undergraduate enrollment dipped to its lowest mark in eight years in the fall, with 3,741 students taking online or hybrid classes. The college’s graduate student population spiked by 34 percent this fall pushing overall enrollment to an all-time high of 5,411, a four percent increase from spring 2020.  

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Nationally, undergraduate enrollment dropped nearly 2.5 percent this fall due to the coronavirus, though enrollment among graduate students is up 3.9 percent. 

The expected increase in Emerson’s enrollment for the fall, Madsen said, could be attributed to some students who took a leave of absence for the fall semester indicating plans to return to online or hybrid classes after winter break. 

One hundred and ten students who took a leave of absence in a prior term will shift to the flex learning model for the spring semester, Madsen said. So far, 23 students who had taken a leave have decided to take online-only courses for the spring. 

As of Oct. 27, 222 students have already registered for the new winter term, an optional online month-long term running from Dec. 10 to Jan. 6 that will replace the typical week-long intersession courses offered in between semesters, Madsen said.