Record CBU fall enrollment defies pandemic disruptions

By CBU Marketing and Communications on September 25, 2020

Riverside — California Baptist University recorded its largest fall enrollment ever this year despite significant disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic, President Ronald L. Ellis, Ph.D., announced today.

Fall 2020 enrollment at CBU totaled 11,317 students, Ellis reported during a virtual meeting of University trustees. That figure is 272 more than the previous record enrollment of 11,045 students in fall 2019, an increase of 2.5 percent.

“Fall 2020 is another record-breaking enrollment increase on top of a sustained 26 years of significant growth,” Ellis said. He noted the increase puts CBU ahead of schedule to reach an enrollment goal of 12,000 students by 2025.

Trustees established the current goal in 2015 after CBU surpassed its previous enrollment target of 8,080 by 2020 five years early.

Ellis reported this year’s enrollment growth follows three years of 600-plus increases (610, 698, 618), one four-digit increase (1,113) and five years of three-digit increases (813, 584, 616, 784, 545), followed by yet another three-digit jump last year (559). With the latest increase of 272 students, CBU enrollment has grown 7,212 on a base of 4,105 in fall 2009—an increase of 176 percent in the past 11 years.

In CBU’s 70-year history, all 20 year-over-year triple digit or greater increases have occurred since fall 1995.

Since Ellis became president in November 1994, enrollment has increased from 808 to 11,317. That means current CBU enrollment is more than 14 times greater than at the start of the Ellis presidency.

This semester, due to COVID-19, nearly all CBU academic programs are being delivered via live/synchronous remote instruction. In-person instruction is limited to essential program features such as labs, studios and clinical placements.

Classes began Aug. 24, two weeks earlier than previously scheduled. The revised start date means the fall semester will conclude before Thanksgiving, allowing an extended break before the spring semester begins in January. CBU officials said the modified schedule will help reduce the campus population during the traditional influenza season when some health officials also predict a possible new wave of the COVID-19 virus.

CBU offers seven doctoral programs and more than 40 graduate programs as well as more than 150 undergraduate majors, minors and concentrations. CBU officials said this year’s greatest enrollment increases were recorded in traditional graduate and online programs.

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