Nicholls Fall Enrollment Declines Amid Pandemic, Hurricane Recovery

First Day of Class Spring 2021 (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University) 1/19/21

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University fall enrollment decreased for the first time since 2014 in the wake of Hurricane Ida and a multi-year global pandemic. 

Nicholls enrolled 6,239 students, according to 14th-day class statistics, an 8-percent drop from Fall 2020. 

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said he anticipated a drop in enrollment as students are weary from going to school during the COVID-19 era. Additionally, many more students who would normally be enrolled are rebuilding after Hurricane Ida hit South Louisiana on Aug. 29. 

“We saw this coming, and we understand. It is a difficult time to be a student in South Louisiana right now,” Dr. Clune said. “I want our community to know that we are here for you, and we are committed to offering programs that our students want, and our industry needs. We have work to do, but our team is up to it.”  

Though enrollment has decreased, the university continues to excel in retaining its students with a 70 percent freshmen retention rate. This is higher than the national average of 61 percent and the fourth consecutive year of at least 70 percent retention. Additionally, the university has maintained retention rates of at least 68 percent dating back to 2010. 

The Nicholls freshmen class is one of the most accomplished in school history, with 14 more valedictorians than 2020 and the largest average ACT score – 22.2 – since 2019.  

Nicholls Online continues to grow with enrollment increasing by 0.3 percent to 590 students this fall. 

Nursing continues to be the top degree program with 772 students enrolled for the fall. Other top degree programs are: 

  • Business administration and computer information systems with 657 students, 
  • Allied health sciences with 539 students, 
  • Biological sciences with 433 students, and
  • English, modern languages and cultural studies with 419 students. 

Following a successful marketing campaign, the Nicholls MBA program enrollment increased by 41 percent year-to-year, the largest program growth on campus. Other significant enrollment increases are: 

  • Masters in nursing up 23 percent, 
  • Allied health sciences up 5.3 percent,
  • Psychology, counseling and family studies up 3.1 percent, and
  • English, modern languages, and cultural studies up 1 percent. 

To apply for Spring, Summer or Fall 2022 semesters, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Oct. 1, 2021

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

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