UW’s First-Time Student Enrollment Numbers See an Increase

UW’s First-Time Student Enrollment Numbers See an Increase

LARAMIE — The number of first-time students attending the University of Wyoming has grown by 10.2 percent this fall, the second year in a row that UW’s incoming class has topped the previous year’s enrollment.

Some 1,627 first-time students have enrolled in the state’s university, up from 1,477 in fall 2021 and 1,424 in fall 2020. The new class includes 969 Wyoming residents, up 6.6 percent from last year’s 909, and 658 nonresidents, an increase of 15.8 percent from last year’s 568.

“Our in-state enrollment of first-time students is now well ahead of what we’ve seen in the last decade-plus, and we’re delighted to see the robust increase in the nonresident first-time head count, which had taken the biggest hit as a result of COVID-19,” Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Kyle Moore says. “Two straight years of increases in first-time enrollment give us good reason to believe we soon will turn the corner on the pandemic-driven drop in overall enrollment, which institutions across the country have experienced.”

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According to census data collected on the 15th day of classes, UW has enrolled a total of 11,100 students this semester, down 3.3 percent from the overall enrollment of 11,479 last fall. The 15th class day is used because it falls after the class drop/add deadlines and after the first tuition and fee payment is due.

UW’s freshman enrollment showed a strong increase: The number of students who’ve taken fewer than 30 course credits, the number considered to be a full year of classes, has grown to 1,985 from 1,820 last year, or 8.3 percent. But the sophomore, junior and senior classes all have declined. That’s a reflection of the significant drops in first-time enrollment in 2020-21 following the top two recruiting classes in UW’s history in 2018 and 2019 — 1,849 and 1,760, respectively — and student retention challenges related to the pandemic.

Also playing a role in the overall decrease was a 9.6 percent drop in new transfer students to UW this fall — to 790 from 874 in fall 2021. Community college enrollments have seen higher education’s biggest drops across the country during the pandemic, resulting in fewer transfer students.

UW’s graduate student enrollment, which rose 4.9 percent to 2,610 from fall 2020 to fall 2021, saw a slight decrease this fall to 2,582.

“Regaining our trajectory of growth in overall enrollment is going to take a series of years of both increased recruitment and stronger student retention,” Moore says. “The university is redoubling its efforts in both of these areas to recover from the pandemic-driven declines and to achieve our enrollment objectives. We’re also working closely with the community colleges to highlight the value of higher education to prospective students — and to make the transfer process as seamless as possible for all transfer students.”