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Diné College Surprised By Higher-Than-Expected Enrollment

Diné College says more students than expected have enrolled for classes this fall despite challenges of the coronavirus.

The college feared those challenges would lead to a sharp decline in enrollment, but after it slashed tuition by 50% and students found out by word of mouth, the college was pleasantly surprised when more than a thousand students enrolled. 

Priscilla Leonard, a spokeswoman with Diné College, said a lot of parents were reluctant to let their kids attend college outside of the Navajo Nation.

"Due to the pandemic that’s going on, they wanted to keep their children close. And the other thing was we were also able to have a loaner program, within the college, the IT department where we were loaning laptops to our students," said Leonard.

In addition to loaning laptops, the college will sanitize books and has arranged for curbside checkout.

The college thought a lack of internet access could keep students from signing up and lead to a sharp decline in enrollment.

And enrollment is down, but only by 50 students. 

Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.