The University of Minnesota Crookston released their official enrollment numbers for the 2021 Fall Semester. As of October 1, there are 621 students currently on campus, and 952 students enrolled with online programs. That is a total of 1,573 degree-seeking students.

On-campus enrollment for the fall is essentially the same as last year, as the number only dropped from 622 students to 621 students. Online enrollment, however, dropped by 160 students from 1,112 to 952 for this year. A big reason online enrollment is down, is because last year, UMC recorded the most online enrollments in the school’s history.

UMC Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause discussed why online enrollment may be down and said on-campus enrollment for the fall is also a little lower than UMC’s projections. “Last year was our all-time high for online students, and we think that’s because of COVID-19 and people deciding to go online instead of coming in person,” said Holz-Clause. “So, we’re down a little bit because of that, and then we’re also a little bit down with our projections for on-campus. It’s not necessarily that different from other places, and a lot of students have decided to go off into the workforce, and others are just Covid weary and our taking this year off.”

Holz-Clause also mentioned that UMC has already begun its strategy for recruitment next year and that the school is excited about getting it ramped up. “Our recruiters are working with the University of Minnesota Morris because we don’t compete with them for students,” said Holz-Clause. “By doing this, it has extended our reach into Wisconsin as well as into Iowa more because those are areas that Morris recruits pretty hard. Likewise, we are extended their reach into North Dakota and South Dakota, which are bigger markets for us. So, it’s really a great partnership.”

Holz-Clause says the admission fee during October is waived to encourage students to sign-up, and workshops regarding the 2022 FAFSA will also be held.

Holz-Clause also discussed that both on-campus students and online students are expected to have a COVID-19 Vaccination to attend UMC. “All these decisions that are being made are guided by science and medicine,” said Holz-Clause. “We ask all of our students by October 8 to let us know if they’ve received the vaccine or if they have a religious or medical reason not to.”

For a medical exemption, the student will need to have a signature from a medical provider. For a religious exemption, the student will need to fill out a form and have it notarized.

Holz-Clause also explained the decision to have all students (including online students) get vaccinated comes from the University of Minnesota and says science and medicine are the key factors in making the decision. “The decision was made at the University of Minnesota that regardless of what kind of student you are, that this was the best health advice,” said Holz-Clause. “So, all of our students are required to get the vaccine unless they have an exemption that would qualify.”

If a student fails to apply for an exemption or doesn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine by October 8, a hold will be put on their registration for next semester. Holz-Clause says there will be an extra month for students who intend to get vaccinated or apply for an exemption and missed the deadline because it’s essential for students to continue their education. “We know the value of a degree,” said Holz-Clause. “A bachelor’s degree is going to garner $2.8 million more than someone who doesn’t have one. Over two-thirds of job openings in the United States now require more than a High School Diploma. So, we’re there for our students and want to ensure they’re successful in completing their degrees.”