Spring 2020 will be forever remembered as a semester unlike any other in memory. With students learning remotely through virtual instruction due to COVID-19, CSUN academic administrators used the university’s artificial intelligence chatbot, known as CSUNny, to poll currently enrolled students on their plans for fall. The survey found more than 90% plan to continue their path to earning degrees and return in the fall.
The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and the American Council on Education (ACE) recently administered a nationwide survey of students relating to COVID-19 impacts and fall enrollment plans, with 83% of respondents intending to enroll in the fall as originally planned, a figure 7% lower than CSUN students report.
“Across the university, we have been working to support students as they continue their progress,” CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison said. “I am pleased to see the results of the survey illuminate the persistence of our students and also the strong encouragement of faculty and staff. The reality is that now is not the time to step back from pursuing higher education.”
The survey, administered via text message, resulted in nearly 5,000 responses. CSUN is currently planning for multiple learning scenarios for the fall semester — everything from a return to face-to-face instruction to continued virtual learning to hybrid approaches. Less than 4% of respondents planning to continue in the fall indicated that they would only return if classes are in person.
“We all want to come back together as soon as it is safe to do so, and we expect to communicate more detail by mid-May,” Harrison said. “With the health and safety of our campus at the pinnacle of our decision-making, we are guided by scientific data on COVID-19 and counsel from elected and public health officials with the city and county of Los Angeles, as well as the State of California and the CSU.”
In addition to outreach to current students, CSUN is also communicating the importance of higher education with admitted students ahead of the May 1 intent to register deadline.
“COVID-19’s economic impacts have already been deep, and past history has shown that recessions have a much greater impact on those with lower levels of educational attainment,” Harrison said. “Now is the time to complete your degree and earn new degrees and certificates so that you will be more competitive and best prepared when the economy recovers. Faculty continue to innovate and connect with students to deliver powerful educational opportunities. That will continue regardless of the learning modality.”