Several Christian colleges and universities affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church are reporting record enrollment this past term, despite delivering education in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa, was among several schools listed in a Christian Post story.
Sarah Moss, director of marketing and communication at Dordt, said, “In August, the campus community welcomed 397 freshmen, the second-largest incoming freshmen class in 10 years, and Dordt’s master’s programs saw record enrollment for the fall semester.” Moss credited the increased enrollment partly on the Dordt admissions team’s efforts to meet high school students through virtual visits.
“In our virtual visits, we provided high school students and their parents with a chance to interact with faculty members, tour campus, meet with current students, and hear from President Erik Hoekstra,” said Greg Van Dyke, Dordt’s director of admissions.
Dordt hosted more than 1,200 virtual visitors since the beginning of March—three times the approximately 400 high school students that would come for an in-person campus visit during a typical spring semester.
New graduate programs were also a factor in this year’s record enrollment at Dordt. “Our Master of Education program has more than doubled in three years, and we have excellent enrollment in our new Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration programs,” said Steve Holtrop, director of graduate studies.
Redeemer University in Ancaster, Ont., likewise welcomed its largest incoming class since its establishment in 1982 and saw enrollment grow by 14.5% over last year. Shannon McBride, communications manager, said, “Redeemer University offered dual delivery learning, allowing both in-person and remote students to have a presence in the classroom.” Approximately 80% of Redeemer students chose to attend in person this fall.
“Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill., saw the highest percentage of returning students that we’ve experienced in many years,” said Amy I. Stickel, communications manager and creative writer at Trinity.
At Trinity “most classes were held virtually, though some specific classes were held live,” Stickel said. “Trinity welcomed students to residential living and ensured de-densified dorms for the students that lived on campus.”
The King’s University in Edmonton, Alta., experienced “a large drop in international students due to closed borders,” said Nikolas Vander Kooy, director of marketing at King’s. Despite this, he said enrollment actually exceeded the school’s projections.
“Late last spring, King’s announced it would proceed with a hybrid model, which promised in-person classes and labs at least once per week per course in addition to online/live-streamed content,” Vander Kooy said. “This set King’s apart from other universities in Alberta and Western Canada. … The university was able to encourage new and continuing students that Christian university at King’s would not only be possible, but highly exceptional despite the ongoing pandemic.”