Crowley’s Ridge College is reporting its fall enrollment is up from last year.

According to figures from the college, CRC’s total fall 2020 headcount is 192 compared to 187 last fall. The school has nine more full-time students, 10 more resident students, and 55 freshmen students compared to 42 last fall.

“I am very proud of CRC’s enrollment increase this fall,” said CRC president Richard Johnson, “especially given the challenges that COVID-19 has presented since spring break.”

The college also has a large number of first-generation college students, including fully a third of its freshmen. Admission Director Chris Hughes attributed the increased enrollment to the personal attention his admission’s team gave to both prospective students and their parents by helping them navigate the many questions they had about attending college, including costs, and how to pay for college.

Hughes credited the College’s smaller size with helping increase enrollment, partly because of COVID-19. Reportedly, some parents with whom his staff visited about attending this fall said they felt safer with their child at CRC than at an institution with a large student body.

Johnson nonetheless acknowledged that operating under the COVID-19 mandates put into place by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been challenging. On the other hand, he said, there have been few complaints from students or staff regarding the need to wear facial masks, social distancing, or adjusting all college activities to meet the COVID-19 precautionary requirements.

“Students favor traditional classes,” he said, “which is how the majority of our current classes are being conducted while following the required mandates.”

CRC has signs regarding COVID-19 requirements posted around the campus, as well as touchless hand sanitizers in numerous locations.

“We are checking temperatures before entering classes, the cafeteria,” Johnson said, “and we are following all NAIA requirements concerning COVID-19 for our men’s and women’s athletic programs.”

Partly because of the virus, Johnson said, the school now has the ability to offer online classes very quickly, should circumstances require going to virtual classes. “But as of today,” he said, “no students have tested positive since arriving on campus for the fall semester.”

Crowley’s Ridge College, founded in 1964, is a private four-year Christian higher education institution in Paragould, and is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. The College currently offers 10 degrees, nine Bachelor and one Associate.

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