Universities around the nation have feared about their enrollment numbers drastically falling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Texas Tech was able to see an increase in their online enrollment numbers during times where other universities could have seen a decline.
Justin Louder, associate vice provost for eLearning and Academic Partnerships at Tech, said different factors were changed for online enrollment to increase.
“Texas Tech has offered three different modes of instruction this semester. There are face-to-face, hybrid and fully online instructions,” he said. “Since Tech has been offering different forms of course instruction, we’ve been able to serve students who may or may not have been able to come to Lubbock.
Tech has been able to increase partnerships with regional sites, Louder said. This allows for students in local areas to stay in the comfort of their home but still have the ability to attend classes.
“Texas Tech has been very transparent and proactive when it comes to communicating with students and offering these different courses,” Louder said. “Nationwide, there was a fear that enrollment may drop due to the pandemic. However, the incredible work the faculty has done here offering different courses, this was able to prevent a decrease in those numbers and students were able to continue their education with Texas Tech”
Jason Hale, interim executive director of Tech Undergraduate Admissions at Texas Tech, said there were multiple factors that led to the increase in enrollment.
“It was a team effort across the entire institution making sure that we have resources available for students,” he said. “Particularly, this fall, we really increased communication between students and parents.”
The transition decreased slightly in the fall when the pandemic first began and schools started closing, Hale said. However, that changed due to the efforts of the university.
Undergraduate Admissions was able to host 255 virtual events between March and the beginning of the fall semester, Hale said. The attendance in total was almost 6,000 people.
“We started hosting district-wide virtual events for high school,” Hale said. “There was a sense of loss for students, particularly those who graduated high school. We were able to be more authentic with them when it came to those students.”
Regardless of the negatives of the pandemic, Hale said there were opportunities for the university to overcome different obstacles.
“COVID-19 has truly allowed us to overcome challenges,” he said. “Telling students that some classes have to be online and hybrid but still providing an education and giving these students additional support and services. It has expanded our total outreach for how to help these students.”
Damiana Gugliotta, a freshman marketing major from Alan, said there were different reasons that made her choose Tech, even amid the pandemic.
“Texas Tech was my top choice the whole time”, she said.
Regarding online learning, Gugliotta said there still were difficulties.
“It is a little bit harder to ask teachers questions directly,” she said. “I have to email them and then wait for a response instead of just having a conversation.”
Gugliotta would just want her online classes to have more Zoom calls, so she would not have to run into this problem, she said. However, classes still are fulfilling even though a majority are online.