CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - One of the largest expected downfalls from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment and retention didn’t hit the Coastal Carolina University campus quite as hard as expected.
During Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Associate Provost of Enrollment Amanda Craddock shared a snapshot of who came to campus to the rest of the board.
According to Craddock, enrollment fell over 10% among new freshmen this fall, compared to last year. For in-state students, the drop in enrollment is even greater, with a nearly 16% decrease in enrollment. While the drop isn’t as large as predicted in the spring, transfer numbers are also down at nearly 9%.
Looking at CCU’s overall enrollment numbers, the decrease was 3.5% over enrollment for the fall of 2019, according to information presented at Thursday’s meeting. CCU officials said back in May they were concerned the decrease would be 15%.
Retention is the highest it’s been in years at CCU. Preliminary numbers show from 2019 to 2020 show first-year retention was at 73% compared to 68% the year prior.
The information also comes ahead of a big day for the school’s athletic program, as the now-ranked Chanticleers football team hosts Georgia Southern on Saturday.
“When you consider we are right beside an institution that’s been playing football since 1888 and we’ve been playing since 2003 it’s pretty impressive stuff," said Athletic Director Matt Hogue.
The Chants come into Saturday’s game at No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, the first time the program has ever achieved such a ranking. The team was also ranked in the Amway Coaches' Poll for the first time.
Hogue said the impressive work on the football field is putting more eyes on the school than seasons past, and also gave updates on testing protocols for athletes and what’s to come for other CCU sports teams, including basketball.
“We’re actually working on the basketball protocols now, so we can start working on that season as we get closer in the next month or so," he said. “The arena - it’ll be a really different set up because of the indoor nature of it, but we’ll be ready for play."
There was a section during today’s board meeting, where members discussed lease renewals and the Coastal Carolina master plan. The board did not discuss whether the university will extend leases for off-campus quarantine apartments, which expire in two months.