University of Mobile grows during pandemic, records highest enrollment in 5 years


Back to school or graduate certificate program concept : Black graduation cap on a pencil in a bottle. Back to school is the period in which students prepares school supply for upcoming school year.

MOBILE, AL (WALA) — The University of Mobile recorded its highest enrollment in five years for Fall 2020, bucking a nationwide trend of declining college enrollments during a global pandemic.

The Christian university reported a total enrollment of 2,016 for Fall 2020, up from 1,989 in 2019. The increase includes the largest class of graduate students in the school’s history, along with a significant jump in transfer students.

School officials said new academic programs, plus a reputation for personal attention that becomes even more attractive to students and parents during a pandemic, helped spur the growth.

“When you consider that many ‘experts’ were predicting up to 20 percent declines nationwide in fall enrollments, our increase reflects a great amount of hard work and God’s faithfulness,” said UM President Lonnie Burnett.

Charity Wittner, vice president for enrollment and student life, said being a small private university actually helped in enrolling students during a pandemic.

“We can more easily make the necessary adjustments in social distancing, and our small classes with a culture where faculty and staff know and care about their students are a real advantage,” Wittner said.

Fueling the record graduate enrollment of 266 are the Family Nurse Practitioner program in the College of Health Professions; the Master of Arts in Musical Theatre in the Alabama School of the Arts; and the Master of Business Administration and new Master of Science in Leadership and Communication, both in the School of Business. New doctoral programs in the School of Nursing and the Alabama School of the Arts also are bringing in more graduate students. Additional graduate programs are planned, with another expected to start by Fall 2021 in the School of Nursing.

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