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NMSU Carlsbad enrollment jumps 13%

New Mexico State University Carlsbad’s 13.1% increase in student enrollment was the result of a strong dual credit program, officials said.

The Carlsbad campus – which boasted the highest one-year-jump of any NMSU Community campus – reported 158 more students in fall 2021 than fall 2020, according to the NMSU Census Enrollment Reports.

“The Carlsbad dual credit numbers are (higher) partially because they have such a strong early college high school,” said NMSU Carlsbad’s Branch Executive Director Kenneth Van Winkle.

Carlsbad Early College High School grew by 163 students, officials reported, or 39%.

The growth was not enough however to bring enrollment at NMSU Carlsbad back to pre-pandemic levels, as NMSU Carlsbad begins the transition to the independent Southeast New Mexico College. The transition would not affect the dual credit program which sees students earn a high school diploma while also earning a two-year college degree.

NMSU Carlsbad had a total of 1,361 students enrolled in fall 2021; 180 were freshmen, 127 were sophomores, 51 were juniors and 28 were seniors. Two-hundred sixty-four were continuing education undergraduate students and 22 were undergraduate transfer students.

New Mexico State University-Carlsbad headcount changes between fall 2020 and fall 2021.

New Mexico State University reported system-wide drop in enrollment in fall 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic led to statewide stay-at-home orders that required students to take classes remotely.

Enrollment at Carlsbad dropped 33.9%, from 1,821 students in spring 2020 to 1,203 students in fall 2020. The Spring 2021 enrollment dropped to 1,162 students, according to the enrollment data from the university.

Van Winkle said the decline was likely caused by the difficulties of going to school during a pandemic.

“There’s some students that slip through the cracks because they either didn’t have the technology or they couldn’t get to the Wi-Fi that they needed to complete classes,” Wan Winkle said. “Then we found that other students just had a harder time trying to take classes online.”