UMass on target for goal number of incoming students

Freshmen class will number 5,749, an increase from last year

UMass+on+target+for+goal+number+of+incoming+students

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Collegian Staff

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Massachusetts’ incoming freshman class will be on par with the school’s earlier projections.

“Earlier this year, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our target for incoming students this summer was to get between 5,700 and 5,750 deposits. We are on target. We have 5,749,” said Ed Blaguszewski, executive director of strategic communications.

According to UMass Admissions, last year’s incoming freshman had 5,731 students. Thus, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 saw 18 more freshman committing to UMass than the previous year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many universities wondering whether they will welcome students back to campus in the fall and has created uncertainty regarding freshman enrollment.

According to the New York Times, a “higher education trade group has predicted a 15 percent drop in enrollment nationwide, amounting to a $23 billion revenue loss,” making freshman enrollment incredibly important for universities across the United States.

“For every university, many uncertainties exist for the upcoming semester, including the financial impact of the pandemic on budgets,” said Blaguszewski.

Last week, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy released a detailed proposed plan for the fall semester based on the findings of six administrative working groups.

The Financial Planning group focused on assessing the “financial impact of the various scenarios of on-campus or remote instruction and research.” The proposal noted the importance of an enrollment modeling that accounted for some students “unwilling to continue in remote learning modes.”

While UMass will make an official statement by June 30 about fall plans, some incoming freshman, like Chewelah, Washington native Lillian Kirry, will not let the possibility of remote learning deter them from going straight into college following high school graduation.

Kirry, who will join the UMass track team next year, will enter UMass as a member of the Commonwealth Honors College on the public health and health science exploratory track. While Kirry said she would be greatly disappointed if the fall semester was online, she would “definitely understand how that decision was made and have to come to terms with it.”

“I would miss out on the freshman college experience that everyone else got, I would miss that track season that I worked so hard to be in,” she added.

Because Kirry is a student-athlete, she began her college process a lot earlier than most high school students and committed to UMass in December, before the pandemic hit the U.S. in February.

While Kirry isn’t too worried about getting herself sick, she plans on wearing a face mask and being extra cautious in order to prevent the virus from spreading to others.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily worried about my health and getting sick because there are so many options for me to stay safe and still be part of the track team or the Honors program or the communities that I want to be a part of. And I know that I will do everything in my power to keep myself safe, which in turn will keep others safe,” she said.

While many schools are trying to find ways to allow students to come back to campus, Kirry worries a second wave of the virus could force students to go back to remote learning in the fall. Cases in the U.S. are still climbing, and June 15 saw the largest single-day increase of the month, according to the Washington Post. This has led to some states considering going into lockdown again, which would in turn affect universities.

Maria Elena Little Endara can be reached [email protected]