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Fresno State might not see a drop in student enrollments this fall if the freshmen and transfer student acceptances and registrations for new student orientation are any indication.

Fresno State and other public and private universities across the nation shifted to distance learning modes of instruction after campuses closed in March to stem the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 outbreak. Barring some classes and programs that require in-person instruction, most CSU classes will be online again this fall.

Some pundits have predicted that college enrollments will be down in the fall because students will opt to take a year off if they can’t take classes on campus.

Because of the turmoil and havoc created among many students and their families by the coronavirus pandemic, Fresno State extended its deadline for accepting admission from May 1 to June 1.

‘Cautious Optimism’ for Enrollments

There is “cautious optimism” that enrollments may hold up because of the higher number of students accepting admission compared to last year, university spokeswoman Lisa Boyles told GV Wire℠.

But officials are aware that students and their families must contend with many variables before proceeding with enrollment, she said.

Almost 4,200 freshmen accepted admission compared to approximately 3,700 last year, and more than 4,100 students have registered for the school’s Dog Days orientation event compared to 3,600 last year, Boyles said.

In addition, more than 3,140 transfer students have accepted their admission; last year there were 2,360. Approximately 3,000 transfer students have registered for Dog Days compared to 2,080 at this point last year.

Registration Precedes Enrollment

“Registering for Dog Days, a prerequisite for academic registration, shows an additional level of commitment to coming to Fresno State beyond just accepting admission,” she said.

Boyles said that 89.9% of continuing students have registered for the fall — 15,483 compared to 15,335 at the same time last year.

Students could still decide not to enroll, even after registering for classes, university spokeswoman Patti Waid said.

“That’s why looking at numbers now is merely a guess; we won’t know how many students are actually enrolled in the fall 2020 term until the census is conducted a few weeks into the fall semester,” she said.

Fewer Students Withdrew

The number of Fresno State students who withdrew was lower in the spring semester than prior semesters — 16 in spring 2020 compared to 65 in fall 2019 and 45 in spring 2019, Waid said.

Because of the pandemic, the university allowed students to choose the credit/no credit option, which might have spurred students to continue with classes since they wouldn’t have to worry about a low grade affecting their grade-point average, she said.

Fresno State’s enrollment historically is higher in the fall semester than the spring and has ranged from about 22,000 to 25,000 in recent years.

The Dog Days orientation is held in the summer and is mandatory for incoming students. It will be held virtually this year because of COVID-19. President Joseph I. Castro announced that the $70 student fee and $25 guest fee for the program will be waived in recognition of financial uncertainties created by the pandemic.

No Discount for Online Class Fees

Students won’t be getting any breaks on their class fees, however, even though some have argued that they shouldn’t have to pay full price if their classes are virtual instead of face-to-face.

Waid said Fresno State has no plans for tuition reductions in the 2020-21 school year.

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