UMW is currently reporting low numbers of students choosing not to enroll for the semester and of students choosing a fully online course load.
Deferment was not a popular option at UMW. Despite the semester running differently than normal, most incoming students plan to continue as planned.
“Of the new enrolling students, 16 deferred to spring 2021 and 25 deferred to fall 2021,” said Anna Billingsley, associate vice president of University Relations. “Not all deferrals are COVID related. Some have legitimate interesting gap years planned. Of transfers, we had 41 defer their enrollment to spring or fall 2021.”
Out of all UMW undergraduate students, almost 19 percent are enrolled in all online classes. For the remaining students, an average of 64 percent of their classes are online.
For junior psychology major Jai-Leah Garcia the continuation of their education played an important role in the decision to remain enrolled.
“What made me go back is that I still wanted to continue my education. Even though it is online, I did not want to stop learning,” said Garcia. “If we were able to do it during the rest of the spring semester, then I believed that we could do it for the fall semester. I am online only this semester because I live with a high risk family, and I did not want to put them at risk for COVID-19.”
There has also been a change in the number of students on campus. Currently, there are 1,700 students residing on campus, compared to the average 2,420.
Jasmine Nixon, a senior sociology major, shared her motives behind re-enrolling after withdrawing earlier this year during the spring semester.
“I decided it was worth it to come back because I realized I needed my degree to get into the field I want. After a long break, I figured out what I wanted to do after school and decided to re-enroll to UMW. For me, personally, online classes work better than in-person, so it was a better option in general,” said Nixon.
While statistics of gap semesters at UMW are fairly low, it is still an option for some students.
Erika South, a senior biochemistry major, chose to take a gap year instead of returning to UMW for the online fall semester.
“The reason for my gap year is entirely the fault of the pandemic. I am an out of state student from Pennsylvania, which means that paying out of state tuition for online classes is honestly ludicrous. I also ride on the equestrian team and this year would’ve been my senior year. For the most part, there won’t be any shows until the spring, and I really wanted to ride on the team for the duration of the year,” said South. “Plus, I am a biochemistry major. After online classes last semester and trying desperately to teach myself inorganic chemistry, I just knew that taking a year off was the best thing I could do for myself.”