University enrollment drops, COVID-19 data released 

By Kelcey Norris 

After the first five weeks of classes, Youngstown State University president, Jim Tressel, updated the campus community on reported COVID-19 cases and how the pandemic has affected operations. He also announced a new COVID-19 dashboard with updated data released on Monday. 

According to Tressel, there has been a total of 22 cases on campus since June. Sixteen of these cases were students, while the remaining were employees. According to the COVID-19 dashboard, none of these students live on campus. 

The board reported that overall enrollment has decreased by 4.4%. Detailed official 14-day enrollment data has yet to be released by the university. 

“Truly, it was an amazing effort by everyone on this campus to make sure that as many students as possible could come back and have the opportunity to continue their academic journey,” he said. 

Tressel said the university benefited from financial support from federal offices through CARES Act funding, as well as scholarship money from the YSU Foundation.

Helen Lafferty, Galena Lopuchovsky and Joseph Kerola raise their right hands to take the oath of office and become board members. Photos courtesy of YSU.

 

“Our foundation also stepped up with the Penguin-to-Penguin fund to meet immediate needs as our students were trying to finish the semester,” Tressel said. “And the Emergency COVID-19 scholarship, which provided nearly $1.4 million worth of scholarship assistance for incoming transfer students.” 

Tressel said the university helped incoming transfer students “who felt that they needed to make a move closer to home.” Many students faced financial difficulties which had the potential to affect their enrollment. 

Eddie Howard, vice president of Student Affairs, said both the Penguin-to-Penguin fund and the CARES Act served as “gap funding” to ensure enrollment would stay as high as possible. 

“I can’t stress enough how truly proud I am to work at Youngstown State University and work with the colleagues that I work with,” said Howard. “The enrollment piece really takes a village…Collaboration across the board is how we are able to be where we are today.”

Howard said changing to online class modalities and virtual recruitment helped prevent enrollment from decreasing further.

The board moved to use “$529,000 from CARES Act fund to university funds, $2.5 million in the year-end balance to the operating carry forward fund and debt service reserve funds to fund a portion of the debt service,” according to a summary posted online. 

The board of trustees also welcomed three new members. Galena Lopuchovsky, a sophomore engineering major, was appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine as one of two student trustees. DeWine also appointed Joseph Kerola. Helen Lafferty, a two-time alumna of the university, joined the board of trustees as the national/global trustee. 

The full summary of the board of trustees’ meeting can be found online at https://ysu.edu/news/youngstown-state-university-board-trustees-summary-sept-2-and-3-2020 

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