Reaching Out to Students Lost Due to Vaccination Policies

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John W. Dysart
The Dysart Group

Colleges and universities have lost students this year because of their COVID-19 vaccination policies. Some currently enrolled students opted not to return, and some prospective students elected to postpose enrollment or attend a competing institution due to vaccination policies. Still others took advantage of an option to attend class virtually.
I’m not interested in getting into a discussion of which approach to vaccines is best for colleges and universities. The truth is that some students elected not to enroll because they did not want to be vaccinated and others elected not to enroll to avoid being in contact with unvaccinated individuals.

Regardless of your policies regarding vaccinations, it makes sense to have a plan in place to re-recruit these students, if possible.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that college enrollment fell by 3.5 percent year over year -- the largest year-over-year drop in a decade.

  1. Make sure you keep track of the currently enrolled students who did not return. Initiate telephone, text message and email communications to keep them updated on evolving requirements and conditions.
  2. Do the same for any deposited students who withdrew late in the cycle because of vaccine policies.
  3. Stay in touch with the students who have enrolled virtually to keep them engaged and updated as well. Begin now to prepare them for the option of returning to in-person classes.

Regardless of your institutional policy, understand that conditions are likely to change over the next twelve months. It is best to be able to welcome students back to the fold if conditions allow.


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