Rochester University achieved a record enrollment in fall 2020 despite the challenges of a pandemic and predictions of a national decrease in college enrollment.

Initial statistics show an enrollment increase of 13% compared to the previous fall, and for the first time in the institution’s history, RU’s overall student headcount was more than 1,200, which includes traditional, accelerated and early college students, President Brian Stogner said.

“I am pleased to report that RU has apparently bucked a national enrollment trend for decreases in college enrollment. The National Student Clearinghouse reported an overall 3.8% decline in enrollment this fall at four-year private colleges and universities in the United States,” Stogner said. “I am thankful to the entire RU campus community for its hard work in ensuring a quality educational environment in the midst of these uncertain times.”

Vice President Scott Samuels said the university set records for both traditional daytime students, which includes both freshmen and transfer students, and students enrolled in early college programs.

Samuels attributed part of RU’s enrollment success to the RU Pledge Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which helps graduates, beginning with freshmen in the fall 2020 class, to repay student loans.

“Many factors, such as the cost of college, concern about student loan debt, and the pandemic, could dissuade students from attending college,” Samuels said. “But with the RU Pledge and with our supportive RU community where we give personalized attention to every student, we are pleased to educate a record number of students.”

Students may still enroll in the second session of the university’s accelerated program, so totals for the fall semester are not yet final.