COVID-19’s impact on UMKC’s admissions process, budget

Abigail Higginbotham

With COVID-19 spreading like wildfire, universities across the country are trying to find new ways to recruit students during quarantine. UMKC’s Office of Admissions (OOA) is moving all campus tours and orientation days online through Zoom sessions and recordings.

Director of Admissions Alice Arredondo is now telecommuting to work, as are all of her coworkers. Arredondo said she stays just as busy now as when she worked on campus. She said the admissions office isn’t slowing down, and that the current state of the world won’t stop them from working as hard as they can to reach new students.

There will be virtual office hours next week for prospective students to call and learn about what the university can do for them, said Arredondo.

The OOA has turned campus tours and group visits into Zoom meetings where potential students can talk to admission representatives as well as current students about the campus. The sessions will be held every weekday from 9-5 p.m. The tours themselves have been pre-recorded and led by some of the campus ambassadors. These virtual tours are currently available on UMKC’s website.

The OOA has also pre-recorded sessions about housing, financial aid, the Honors College, study abroad programs and academic support and mentoring that students can view online at any time.

There is also concern about the retention rate of existing students during this pandemic. With most students having gone home, the OOA is planning on checking in with them to ensure they remain part of UMKC come next semester.

Asked if enrollment at UMKC would drop due to coronavirus-induced changes, Arredondo said, “We are prepared to teach in the fall, whether that’s virtually or in person. We are going to do that in the best way for all students. Hopefully, they see that.”

Due to the pandemic’s negative impact on the economy, public universities are projected to lose funding during this time. These budget cuts could affect admissions at UMKC.

“I know that we do have budget cuts, and we’re really looking into what that will do for us,” said Arrendondo. “We’re trying to make sure that doesn’t have a negative impact on students.”

The state cutting funding to higher education has hit upper administration at UMKC as well. Arrendondo said the chancellor, deans, university cabinet members and provosts have taken a 10% pay cut through July 31.

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