ACU works to keep freshman enrollment numbers steady following pandemic impacts

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene Christian University (ACU) staff are saying goodbye to this semester as they work on plans to reopen in the fall.

“I’m interested in what the new normal is going to look like,” said one Abilene resident walking along the Lunsford Trail at ACU Monday.

University president Phil Schubert says that answer is simple. He wants to start the fall off face-to-face, but that goal also raises a lot of unanswered questions.

“How do we hold a class? What spaces on campus can we use to ensure adequate space to keep students socially distant?” said Schubert.

Schubert also added that the university may implement some sort of health testing to ensure students are staying safe during the semester.

While some things may look different come August, there’s one thing that won’t change and that’s the number of students filing in.

Schubert says while they are seeing a slight decline in enrollment, it’s nothing compared to what they expected following a survey the university sent out in the last few months.

“Thirty-three percent of them had reported that their family had sustained significant change to their financial situation since March 1. Those are big numbers,” said Schubert.

ACU has been able to take a big load off of some of these families with the help of federal funding (CARE Act) and payment plans.

Schubert says he and the ACU provost will also be taking a 20% pay cut this summer, although KTAB/KRBC has not confirmed where that extra money will go.

“It’s a small drop in the bucket but it’s our way to communicate with our people that we are in the boat with them,” said Schubert.

While changes are in the future for the campus and its students, some say they are just excited to get back to some sort of normalcy.


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