The Corinthian style clock tower accompanied the opening of the Swain Student Activies Center in 1990 (UofL Photo).

Enrollment at the University of Louisville reached 23,246 students during the fall semester of 2020, setting an all-time high, according to the University. Equally impressive was that the increase occurred in the midst of a global pandemic.

The growth also included increases in minority students, with Black student enrollment up by 8%, Hispanic up 13% and Asia representation by 11%.

Enrollment climbs to new high at UofL during global pandemic (UofL Photo).

Total enrollment was up by 562 students from 22,684 a year earlier, or 2.4%. Preliminary enrollment figures for the spring semester show 21,081 total students, up from 20,877 in spring 2020 for an increase of 0.98%.

“UofL has held steady and even increased enrollment while other public universities nationwide are seeing declines during this challenging year,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

That’s right. The record enrollment at UofL occurred at a time when college enrollment figures have trended downward. The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) reported that overall postsecondary enrollments in the United States declined 2.5% in the fall, and public college enrollments declined by 4%. 

UofL has met numerous challenges during the pandemic. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from generous, willing donors to help meet students’ dire financial needs and enable them to continue their studies. The Student Emergency Fund, which usually maintains a modest $25,000 balance, increased almost 3,000%.
“The University distributed $788,000 in emergency funds to 862 undergraduate, graduate and professional students since the pandemic started in March of 2020,” said Dean of Students Michael Mardis.
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UofL has announced that the University will resume in-person classes for the fall semester this year, following a major disruption to the traditional learning model caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A web site posting at UofLNews says, “We expect to offer students a robust residential experience with in-person classes and fully staffed student services again. Most of us miss the vibrancy of student life on campus, the interactions between students, faculty and staff, and we look forward to a mostly in-person schedule for fall.”
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The University also notes: “Not a single COVID-19 case was contact-traced to a classroom. As always, our priority this fall will be to keep faculty, staff and students safe on campus while providing a first-class, in-person education for students. And if the course of the pandemic requires it, we will be able to transition to hybrid and online more easily this fall.”
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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.