WTAMU reports record Fall 2020 enrollment despite pandemic

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Initial numbers as of September 9 show record enrollment for West Texas A&M University’s fall 2020 semester despite the coronavirus pandemic.

WT is starting the fall semester with 10,169 students, the largest enrollment in the school’s history.

“We’ve worked a number of different strategies to make sure that our students understood how college would be the same and how it would be different this fall,” WT’s Vice President for Strategic Relations, Brad Johnson, said. “So…the report card in effect came out today, and we were very pleased to see that enrollment this fall is at a record level, almost 1% increase over last fall.”

When the university started re-making plans back in March, WT’s leadership said the full scope of the pandemic was just taking shape and enrollment projections were alarming.

Johnson said national predictions varied but most surveys indicated many freshman students might change their plans for the fall. WT said they found new ways to recruit students and the record enrollment was fueled by an increase in online, graduate, and transfer students.

“…our own numbers suggest that some freshmen students likely did change their plans but the graduate student enrollment is up significantly, and the freshman student enrollment was very solid,” Johnson continued. “So the some of the dire predictions have not come true for us. It’s too early for us to know what’s happened to the industry as a whole.”

The university said the number of students taking all courses online stands at 40%, a 6% increase over 2019.

Executive Director of Admissions at WT, Jeffrey Baylor, said students are coming back to WT because faculty are committed to their students.

“No matter what it took, we stepped up, our faculty stepped up to make sure the students have a great experience in the classroom and outside the classroom,” Baylor said. “You know, we’re here to serve the Panhandle and the state of Texas and we know there are students who want to be on campus, who want to be at WT, and we’re here for them.”

WT continues tracking and sharing weekly updates for COVID-19 cases on campus. They can be found by clicking here.

As of Sept. 6, WT said there have been 59 total confirmed cases among WTAMU students and employees since March 1, 2020.

  • 47 individuals are WTAMU students
    • 9 students were attending courses via remote access
    • 12 students were not actively enrolled in courses but reported positive tests (Summer Semesters)
    • 26 students were attending courses on campus
  • 12 individuals are WTAMU employees

“We are way too early to declare victory for the university in this current crisis. However, the term has started well, and so far, our faculty, staff and students have succeeded in minimizing the spread of the virus.”

Dr. Neil Terry, executive vice president and provost at West Texas A&M University

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