Carroll Announces Fall Enrollment Numbers
HELENA – Carroll College is announcing their enrollment numbers for fall 2020. The college typically releases enrollment figures after the tenth day of class, a day known as “census,” which is the standard reporting day for colleges and universities.
Carroll College is reporting 270 new first-year students, and 51 transfer students and students readmitted to the college. This is a decline of 12.5% compared to last year’s class. However, it is an increase of 5% over fall 2018. The college’s current total enrollment is 1,123 students. In addition to Montana, Carroll students hail from 36 different states as well as Washington D.C. and 13 foreign countries.
A bright spot for the college is the freshman retention rate, or the number of students who returned to Carroll for their sophomore year. The college has an 83.5% retention rate, the second highest retention of freshmen to sophomores in the past 20 years. Carroll College has consistently achieved region-leading retention rates with the average retention rate for other 4-year colleges and universities in Montana at 68%.*
“COVID-19 had a major impact on our freshman class, as it did nationally,” Carroll College President John Cech said. In addition, Dr. Cech noted that an August 28 Inside Higher Education article stated that nationally student loan volume was down over 40%, indicating many students were taking a gap year and not attending college. “The travel restrictions this spring kept many students from visiting, and across the country we are hearing many of these students are not attending college this fall but rather waiting for the COVID-19 situation to improve.” Dr. Cech shared that standardized testing was also affected by COVID-19, as many students have been unable to take college entrance exams. “I am glad we made the decision to go test-optional last year. It has really benefited students who were unable to take the ACT or SAT.”
Dr. Cech said the college is already working with students who will enter the college next fall, and has increased merit scholarships to help make Carroll College more affordable. He also noted that so far students have taken the changes in stride at the college due to COVID-19. “I see our students, faculty, and staff working very hard to keep each other safe and healthy. It’s not easy, but we all know it’s worth it for us to maintain the close-knit and personalized community we are known for.”
Carroll College was one of the only colleges in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest to offer to pay for COVID-19 testing of all of its students upon their arrival. “Based on the results from our first three weeks in school, I would say it really paid off,” said Cech.