Photo via Solskin/Getty Images
Photo via Solskin/Getty Images

But are university students choosing not to enroll in online classes, or is there something more to it?

DETROIT, Mich–University enrollment this fall was down 3.5% in 15 state universities in Michigan, according to MLive. This marks the biggest enrollment drop in 30 years.

Second-year grad student Mohamed Ziyadi goes to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, which is currently holding classes online only. He needs to complete two more classes in order to graduate from his MBA program. But he is one of those students who did not enroll in the fall semester. He will not enroll in the 2021 winter semester either. 

“Whether you want to take online classes or not, it doesn’t matter you still cannot enroll,” said Ziyadi, who attempted to enroll but said the classes he requested were full.  

“I asked the university if I can enroll, they told me no, I have to wait. And when you do wait, then there are no more online classes available to take.”

Ziyadi believes that the number of enrollment drops across the state is not because students don’t want to take online classes.

“When I hear that the enrollment numbers are down across the state, I am almost sure that what’s going on at U of M Dearborn is going on across the state. I don’t think they are optimizing their system in registration to fit this great number of online students. And I don’t think they care.”

The registration department at the University of Michigan confirmed to The ‘Gander that the capacity for online classes is based on the capacity for in-person classes. 

Historically, less than 5% of college budgets have been allocated to IT since only one-third of college students in the US were enrolled in some kind of online class. The majority of college students take their courses in-person. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, a shift is underway in which many institutions are moving to “remote learning” to keep students, faculty, and staff safe.

Although having the ability to enroll in online learning may be difficult for some students, MLive reports the recent drop in enrollment is a continuation of a decade of declining enrollments, “resulting from a declining birth rate and shrinking numbers in the college-age population.”

Due to a major car accident injury, Ziyadi is not able to work. He told The ‘Gander his only option is to wait for classes to become available. He hopes that with the vaccination rollout he will be able to attend classes in the spring or summer semester. 

He says the only thing he can do for now is review his old courses.

“I have only two classes left to finish before I graduate. I am coming out of a year of not being able to take these classes and because of that reason, I am worried that when I do finally take these classes whether it’s online or in-person, I’m going to be rusty. It’s going to take me a minute to get back into the groove of study,” said Ziyadi.