Shenandoah University tops more than 4,000 degree-seeking students for first time

shenandoah universityFinal fall 2020 enrollment numbers show that Shenandoah University has 4,033 degree-seeking students — shattering last year’s fall enrollment number of 3,752 and recording the first time in school history that the university has more than 4,000 degree-seeking students.

This enrollment milestone marks a 7.5% increase over the same time last year, according to final census numbers for Fall 2020. Total enrollment at Shenandoah, including dual-enrolled students, is 4,171.

“It is an extraordinary achievement for a university to grow its enrollment in the midst of both a pandemic and an economic crisis,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “Having the largest first-year class and also the largest entering graduate class ever reflects the rising reputation of Shenandoah, the strength of our faculty, and the success of our graduates. It is also a testament that students and their parents trust Shenandoah to provide, in the midst of a public health crisis, a safe environment in which rigor and compassion still flourish.”

This fall, the university welcomed its largest first-year class with 518 new students. In addition, the number of graduate students came in at 879, topping the previous record of 790 in 2013.

“Our faculty, staff and current students have created a community of connection, vibrancy and support and that shows in the increasing number of students who attend Shenandoah every year,” said Assistant Vice President of Recruitment and Admissions Andy Woodall, MSW. “Our recruitment and admissions staff have done an incredible job articulating what makes SU different, not only with their words, but also in the way they interact with our prospective students and their families. We’re truly excited for our new students to experience everything SU has to offer.”

Programs that saw major growth in enrollment over the past year were the Master of Science in Performance Arts Leadership & Management, Esports, Occupational Therapy Doctorate, Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, and Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies, to name a few.

Retention of first-year students over the years has been strong, with the retention rate coming in above 80% for the fifth year in a row.

“Engagement is such a key piece of retention,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Yolanda Barbier Gibson, D.A. “Our student affairs staff offers Shenandoah students a diverse co-curricular experience that keeps them engaged and connected not only with their peers, but also their professors and on-campus resources.”

Shenandoah’s enrollment figures match up well with those around the state. According to the Early Enrollment Estimates (EEE) by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Shenandoah posted the highest increase in EEE among all 15 members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in early September and is one of only three schools in the conference that saw an increase.


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