Enrollment increases despite pandemic


Before the pandemic, ULM’s recruiting staff was confident about the future of student enrollment. But according to Sami Owens, executive director of recruitment, once COVID-19 hit, they knew things were going to get tough.

They were right. People all over the country were suddenly unemployed and unable to pay for school. Colleges had to shut down and lost a lot of money, which made it difficult to lower tuition costs when school resumed in the fall.

Despite these obstacles, ULM managed to bring its enrollment up this semester.

The total enrollment for fall 2020 is 8,676, which is 187 more students than in fall 2019. First-time freshmen, undergraduate transfer and graduate enrollment are all higher than they were at this time last year.

In fact, Sushma Krishnamurthy, dean of the graduate school, said that graduate enrollment is the highest it’s been in 36 years.

“I am incredibly proud of the relentless and dedicated work of the admissions team, graduate marketing, program coordinators and student support, and outreach from across campus,” she said.

Owens attributes this wave of new students to the team effort put forward by ULM.

“I think if anything positive comes out of COVID-19, it will be learning how to work better together as a community,” she said.

The first-time freshmen this semester are particularly accomplished with 90% of them having a high school GPA higher than a 3.0. They also have an average ACT score of 22.

President Ronald Berry said that this uptick in enrollment is a result of students and families realizing ULM’s capacity for success.

“The ULM family of faculty and staff diligently work to be second to none as we continue to support our students’ successes through a transformational process,” Berry said.

In the future, Owens and the recruitment staff are expecting ULM’s success with enrollment to continue.

“I’m confident we will continue to grow,” she said. “Our university is moving forward on every level, and people are going to want to be a part of that.”