TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — While the number of enrolled students at Indiana State University continued to fall going into the spring 2022 semester, there are positive signs toward a turnaround according to university officials.

Jason Trainer the Vice Provost of Enrollment Management at ISU explained that this year’s spring enrollment is 8,541 students. He said the spring showed the equivalent amount of drop as was seen in the fall semester.

“We think the pandemic was a huge player in this situation,” said Trainer. “Across the nation, there are about a million fewer students enrolled in higher education institutions.”

According to Trainer, ISU saw many students who initially enrolled, drop out, or switch schools, due to situations caused by the pandemic in their lives.

“Our teaching style is hands-on, face-to-face learning, and so as more remote situations had to be implemented, it alters the experience students are expecting,” said Trainer. “We anticipate next fall to be a much more normal than an abnormal situation.” Trainer added he feels the school may be on the other side of this recent downturn.

When looking at reasons to be optimistic ISU has had a 40% increase in applications for the fall semester, and Trainer reported the persistence and retention rate from the fall to spring semester has returned to pre-pandemic levels. Applications for scholarship funding are also up, but Trainer said “we remain cautious, as there is still a lot of time before the fall semester, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen numbers and statistics don’t behave in a way that allows you to judge with history.”