BOWLING GREEN – Spring semester enrollment at Bowling Green State University is the second-largest spring headcount ever, with a record amount of graduate students and a decrease in the freshman class.
The official 15-day total headcount is 19,090 students, down 40 students from last year’s spring count of 19,130.
“We’re basically flat when we look at spring enrollment over last year,“ said Cecilia Castellano, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Outcomes. “That is our second highest spring ever. Fall was the highest in the last 10 years, so it’s continuing to be strong.”
Castellano said that the cancellation of the winter session could have also made an impact. It was dropped because of pandemic-related changes in the school calendar.
“Overall we’re down in certain buckets and up in other ones,” she said.
The freshman class is down by 300 students. That was more than compensated by Graduate College students, which is the highest on record at BGSU at 3,190. That is a 609 student gain over spring 2020, 23.6% overall.
Freshman class size is typically watched closely because of the financial impact of the four-year length of attendance for degree completion.
Most of the graduate student enrollment was within the eCampus, which increased 83.5%. The eCampus online courses are an accelerated program that takes in the entire 15-week course content in seven weeks.
Traditional graduate level course enrollment is also up 4% over last year.
The total Bowling Green campus headcount is up 1%, a net gain of 172. Meanwhile, the headcount at Firelands is down 10% from last year.
International student enrollment also saw a gain, rising to 60 students total.
“That’s actually up, pre-pandemic, from 39. It’s great. What happened was we had a lot of graduate students welcomed to Bowling Green for the traditional master’s programs and traditional doctorate programs. The international students obviously couldn’t get into the United States. There’s not a lot of travel internationally,” Castellano said.
She said that the university regularly allows deferrals after acceptance for international students for up to a year. This had become more common with travel restrictions from the former President Donald Trump administration and became a much bigger issue with the pandemic.
“We did have some students who had deferred admissions who were then able to obtain a visa and were able to come into the United States. One of the big problems internationally, during the summer, was that embassies were closed all over the world. International students couldn’t even get appointments at their embassies to obtain the correct visa to enter the U.S.” Castellano said.
When some of the embassies did open, the backlog of paperwork didn’t allow for the document processing to take place before the fall semester started, but some of those students were then able to start in the spring.
“It’s been really unfortunate, because I feel the international students bring such a rich experience for our community and our students,” Castellano said.