California University of Pennsylvania posts modest enrollment increases

Gain in graduate students boosts headcount as Cal U marks fall "census date"

California+University+of+Pennsylvania%E2%80%99s+Old+Main+building.

Cal U Communications

California University of Pennsylvania’s Old Main building.

Cal U Communications

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment at California University of Pennsylvania has increased slightly this fall, compared to last year.

Cal U’s total Fall 2020 headcount is 6,885, an increase of 0.63% – or 43 students – over last fall’s total.

The student population on Sept. 15, the university’s official 2020 “census date,” consists of 4,785 undergraduates and 2,100 graduate students.

The number of graduate students grew by 5.74%, Cal U officials reported, counteracting a modest drop of 1.46% in the undergraduate headcount.

“Our staff and faculty have worked incredibly hard to demonstrate that Cal U can offer a high-quality educational experience even in times of unprecedented change,” said Dr. Daniel Engstrom, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“They continue to pour their energy into providing challenging coursework and opportunities for hands-on learning, plus the meaningful engagement and support that students need to stay on track toward graduation.”

The academic profile of incoming first-year students is strong, said T. David Garcia, vice president for Enrollment Management. He noted that the high school GPA for first-time freshmen has been rising steadily since 2016, reaching an average of 3.30 this fall.

“Our renewable Vulcan Merit scholarships make Cal U an especially attractive option for students with a strong academic record,” Garcia said.

Although the majority of incoming students are Pennsylvania residents, he added, the incoming class includes students from 36 states and U.S. territories, plus five countries outside the United States.

Cal U announced on July 31 that all courses would be delivered remotely for the entire Fall 2020 semester. Classes that formerly were taught in person are being delivered virtually, mostly through real-time remote learning, which allows students to engage with their professors and classmates on a regular schedule, much as they would on campus.

The university’s Global Online program, which has been offering asynchronous (“on your own schedule”) online degree programs for more than a decade, grew by 7.74% compared to last year. This fall, 1,064 Cal U students are enrolled in undergraduate Global Online programs and 1,567 in graduate-level programs.

Enrollment data also show a decrease of about 1% in the mean number of credits students are taking at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.