The Chronicle’s Fall 2019 registration tracker

By Alexandra Yetter, News Editor

Columbia is expecting its luck to change after more than five years of enrollment decline.

In a May 20 registration report, total enrollment among graduates and undergraduates was down 485 people, compared to the same time the previous year. By May 28, total enrollment was down by only 102 people compared to the previous year.

“Registration for current students started 6–7 weeks ago,” said Lambrini Lukidis in a June 7 email statement to The Chronicle. “New students began registration in small numbers around May 13. They have really picked up the past two weeks. We have slightly over 200 more new students registered to date compared to last year at this time.”

In 2013, 10,142 students were enrolled at Columbia. By 2018, only 6,825 students were enrolled, according to Institutional Effectiveness.

In an effort to bring in more students, the college announced a five-year strategic plan, led by Vice President of Enrollment Management Michael Joseph, to boost enrollment to 8,000, as reported Feb. 5 by The Chronicle.

Part of that plan includes generous financial aid packages, a new marketing strategy, utilizing analytics to target new students, introducing new programs and combining current graduate and undergraduate programs.

College enrollment decline is a growing national trend, with a 1.7% decrease among all postsecondary education enrollment from Spring 2018 to Spring 2019, according to a May 30 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Registration Center. At Columbia, enrollment has dropped by nearly 33% since 2013. 

In the past, President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim has held the college’s “failed” shift from open enrollment to selective enrollment as one reason for the staunch decrease.

“We’re looking better than we have in the past,” said Faculty Senate president and associate professor in the Humanities, History and Social Sciences Department Sean Johnson Andrews. “There’s a lot of positive feelings about where we’re at relative to previous years.”

The Chronicle will be tracking Fall 2019 registration numbers throughout the summer as college officials expect an uptick compared to Fall 2018.

Story developments to come.

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