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Despite COVID-19 challenges, UofL incoming freshmen totals show slight increase this fall


By Janet Cappiello
University of Louisville

The University of Louisville’s 2020 move-in dates were spread out over several days this year for safety.

Despite the enormous challenges necessitated by the ongoing global health emergency, thousands of students started fall classes at UofL on Aug. 17 and preliminary totals show the number of incoming freshmen has increased slightly over last year.

As classes began on campuses transformed by the need for COVID-19-safe environments, the preliminary enrollment for the freshman class totals more than 2,800 students, up from approximately 2,600 in 2019. The five most popular majors are engineering, business, education, biology and psychology, but the health crisis has resulted in an almost 27 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate public health programs.

Louisville’s 2020 move-in dates were spread out over several days this year for safety. (UofL photo)

The class remains diverse, with almost 20 percent of students identifying as African American or multiracial, and almost 7 percent as Latino.

The university has instituted on-campus mask requirements and is encouraging practices such as frequent testing, social distancing, proper hand-washing techniques and getting flu vaccines. A key element of UofL’s Pivot to Fall plan is hybrid classes that allow students and faculty to remain at safe distances through a combination of online and in-person learning. In addition, UofL continues to offer more than 35 completely online programs.

According to a preliminary count, more than 86 percent of all UofL undergraduate first-time students are enrolled in classes that combine both online and face-to-face instruction.

“Our Cardinals are not going to let the COVID-19 pandemic deter them from furthering their education,” said Neeli Bendapudi, UofL president. “They are back on campus and online, moving forward with their classes in safe and responsible ways. We welcome them and are thrilled to see them after a long absence.”

Here is a snapshot of the first-time freshman class:

• 54.5 percent have some college credits
• 19.6 percent are African American or identify as multiracial
• 6.9 percent are Hispanic/Latino
• 66.3 percent live on campus (down from 72 percent as reported last year)
• 25 is the average ACT score
• 3.8 is the average high school grade-point average, based on a 4.0 scale
• 24.9 percent are from outside Kentucky
• 35 states are represented
• 269 are part-time incoming freshmen
• 33.7 percent are first-generation college students (number reflects a new definition of this breakout to align with national standards).

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