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UW sees 10.2% rise in first-time student enrollment, but overall student numbers decline

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)

CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming saw a 10.2% increase in first-time student enrollment for the fall 2022 semester compared with fall 2021.

UW has seen an increase in first-time student enrollment for the past two years, UW said in a Sept. 15 announcement. UW’s new freshman class includes 969 Wyoming residents, an increase of 6.6% from fall 2021. There are 658 nonresidents in UW’s new freshman class, up 15.8% from fall 2021.

While freshman enrollment is up, UW’s overall enrollment of 11,100 students as of Sept. 15 was down 3.3% from fall 2021. UW attributed the decline in part to smaller sophomore, junior and senior classes after the university saw “significant drops in first-time enrollment in 2020–21 following the top two recruiting classes in UW’s history in 2018 and 2019.”

Student retention challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic are another factor in the overall enrollment drop, UW said. In addition, there was a 9.6% drop in students transferring to UW this fall compared with fall 2021.

“Community college enrollments have seen higher education’s biggest drops across the country during the pandemic, resulting in fewer transfer students,” UW said.

Graduate student enrollment declined to 2,582 students this fall, down from 2,610 in fall 2021, UW added.

“Regaining our trajectory of growth in overall enrollment is going to take a series of years of both increased recruitment and stronger student retention,” Kyle Moore, UW’s vice provost for enrollment management, said in UW’s release. “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.

“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. 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.”

People with questions about enrollment at UW can call Moore at 307-766-4286 or contact him via email at  kyle.moore@uwyo.edu.

“Students interested in scheduling campus visits should call UW Admissions at 800-DIAL-WYO [800-342-5996] or go online at www.uwyo.edu/visit,” UW added.