COLORADO SPRINGS — With just about two weeks until the start of the fall semester for the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), the big question remains, how many students will attend this fall?
Jared Verner, Director of Communications for UCCS, says year-over-year enrollment is down a bit for the upcoming school year.
“Right now, year-over-year, we are about 4.5 percent down from last year, which is actually all things considered very strong for us considering where we started the season, which was close to 22 percent down,” Verner said.
This year pandemic-related closures and travel restrictions forced college campuses across the country to turn to virtual campus tours, UCCS included.
Amy Almasri is in the 5th semester of her senior year at UCCS. She says there are big differences between doing a virtual tour versus seeing a school in-person. Here in Colorado Springs, seeing the scenery can be a big draw.
“You don’t really get that perspective doing like a virtual tour. So I could really imagine that impacting someone’s decision to come to any college at all,” Almasri added.
FOX21 Digital NOW spoke with incoming freshman Carley Connelly who has attended both virtual and in-person campus tours.
Connelly said, “I think in-person was able to give me like a better feel for the campus because I also did a virtual tour a few months ago, and you could see a little bit, but you couldn’t get the real feel with students and how it actually looks.”
While some UCCS classes will be held remotely this year, the schools says roughly 45-50 percent of classes will have some form on-campus experience. There will be a mix of hybrid courses as well.
To help accomodate those changes, all incoming freshmen and transfer students will be issued Google Chrome laptops.
“As students are making their decision, you know, is that one less expense they have to purchase,” Verner said. “We’re very cognizant of those things and making sure that we’re trying to keep costs as low as we possibly can, while not sacrificing the quality of education at the same time.”
And, while the environment will be much different for students and staff, UCCS said it’s hoping to overcome the challenges of wearing masks and social distancing.
“We’re going to try and replicate a normal college experience as best we can,” Verner said.