NMSU sees decline with in-person classes, online enrollment increases

El Paso News

2021 Freshman Walk at NMSU. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – New Mexico State University saw a drop in in-person enrollment during fall 2021 compared to fall 2020, primarily with undergraduate students. Concurrently, NMSU’s online campus has seen growth.

The NMSU system had a total of 21,964 students enrolled for the fall 2021 semester. That is a three percent drop from the previous semester, which recorded 22,360 students enrolled for fall 2020. NMSU’s Las Cruces campus accounted for 13,904 of the total 21,964 enrolled students. This includes 2,674 graduate students.

Although in-person enrollment plummeted, the online school at NMSU increased approximately 10 percent, meaning the fall 2021 semester saw an additional 1,220 students enrolled in the online program.

The university has introduced several new strategies to counter some of the key challenges presented by the pandemic and help boost retention for undergraduate students, said Renay Scott, vice president for Student Success at NMSU.

One strategy is the Aggie Launch Pad initiative, which provides new full-time freshman students with iPad bundles and offers all students opportunities to acquire skills in digital literacy and technology to encourage productivity in academic coursework.

While the pandemic revealed some challenges for traditional undergraduate and graduate courses, it also may have boosted interest in programming specifically geared toward adult learners seeking a fully online learning environment. In turn, enrollment in NMSU’s online school increased thanks to a strategic shift in the program’s design, NMSU officials say.

“Throughout the last year, we have strategically developed an online operation that enhances the student journey, starting from the inquiry phase and continuing throughout the entire learning experience,” said Sherry Kollmann, vice provost for Digital Learning Initiatives at NMSU. “As part of this intentional focus, a key area was developing programs that are designed specifically for the adult learner in an 8-week accelerated model. This accelerated model allows our adult learners the ability to bring their lived experiences into a learning environment.”

Enrollment changes at NMSU’s community colleges vary.

Some NMSU campuses saw double-digit growth and other campuses saw declines.

NMSU Carlsbad enrollment grew by 13.1 percent, adding 1,361 students to the student body. The NMSU Grants campus grew by 11.3, adding 692 students to their student body.

NMSU Alamogordo saw relatively flat enrollment, increasing by 0.5 percent, with an additional 946 students.

NMSU’s largest 2-year campus, Doña Ana Community College, experienced a drop of 8.2 percent and recorded 6,454 students enrolled.

For more information on NMSU’s enrollment, click here

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.