As COVID-19 continues to create an atmosphere of uncertainty around the world, institutions of higher learning are anxious to see how the pandemic might affect enrollment. For the Haslam College of Business, the response to its 2020 undergraduate summer courses has been an encouraging sign. The college has seen an enrollment increase of 12.3 percent over the 2019 summer term, says George Drinnon, executive director of undergraduate programs.
The increase may be due to a number of factors, Drinnon says. Some of the classes available this summer were not offered last year because of changes in the curriculum. Other courses have been added to this summer’s schedule due to increased faculty availability, in part because the pandemic has disrupted other plans. In addition, with many businesses temporarily closed or implementing hiring freezes due to the pandemic, some students may be choosing to take summer classes to make the most of unexpected free time.
“There is some belief that students are taking more classes this summer because of declines in internship opportunities, but that is anecdotal,” Drinnon says. “There also is historical interest in online summer options, as they allow students to take things while away from campus. I’m sure there are students taking advantage of that opportunity.”
The May 2020 mini-term also saw an increase over last year’s enrollment, in part because students who had been studying abroad had to return home and complete their courses on an altered schedule.
Although there is no clear pattern as to which classes have seen an uptick in enrollment, Drinnon says the areas of largest increase are supply chain management, business analytics, entrepreneurship, information management and marketing.
Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org