ECU enrollment, retention up as students move in for fall semester

ECU is doing a rolling move-in with fewer people at a time.
ECU is doing a rolling move-in with fewer people at a time.(WITN)
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 8:15 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Enrollment is up to over 29,500 at ECU this year, despite safety concerns about attending school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freshman enrollment has slightly decreased and ECU’s director of undergraduate admissions says that’s directly correlated with the pandemic.

For those deciding to live on campus, there are a few reasons that outshine concerns about the virus.

“The college experience, freedom, meeting new people,” said one ECU freshman.

Madison Hawley is entering her fourth year of living on campus and said she’s not letting the pandemic stop her.

“It kind of made sense to do one more year on campus and then get an apartment on my own,” she said.

Still, students remain concerned about the social aspect of their college experience.

“My sophomore year and junior year were great because I got to meet a lot of people in my building and make friends even with the RAs, and I feel like that’s just going to be harder to do,” Hawley continued.

Stephanie Whaley is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at ECU. She says it’s been a laborious summer without many of the signature in-person orientation events.

“So much of their activities have been virtual this year, so it calls us to be far more creative and far more personalized with our actions with incoming students to meet them where they are,” she said.

Whaley mentioned the campus has provided a number of options for students to do what they think is safest, including deferring their enrollment until the spring.

“They’re going to be Pirates - they’re just not going to be Pirates this fall,” she said of the more than 200 freshmen who opted for the deferral.

“In some ways, it’s allowed us to grow and find new ways to communicate with new students and their families,” Whaley said of the pandemic.

In addition to an increase in total enrollment, ECU’s first-year retention is up by over two percent, which Whaley said is great considering how challenging the end of spring semester was for many students.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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