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(INDIANAPOLIS) — IUPUI says it’s weathered the pandemic better than it feared it would.

IUPUI enrollment declined for a sixth straight year, but those declines have been tiny.

Chancellor Nasser Paydar says this year’s drop was .5%, despite concerns the

coronavirus pandemic would prompt students to think better of coming to campus.

In his annual state-of-the-campus report to the community, Paydar says IUPUI reached out to

thousands of students by phone over the summer to discuss any concerns about pandemic

planning. And the school has shifted many classes online. Paydar says only about one in six

classes is being held in person. More than a third are taking place online, either live or recorded,

and another 18% are online/in-person hybrids. The remaining 29% of courses take

place off-campus, through approaches like clerkships, internships and independent study.

Paydar says he was particularly concerned the pandemic could affect minority enrollment, but

says the university instead added nearly 500 minority students this year. It’s the fifth straight year

minority representation has gone up. Paydar says the campus is pursuing more than two dozen

diversity initiatives, including a “Through Their Eyes” scholarship announced in October for

descendants of the predominantly African-American residents displaced when IU cleared the land

for the campus more than half a century ago.

Paydar says the university slashed spending 5% even before a state budget cut, in a

successful effort to avoid layoffs. The cuts also freed up money to purchase masks and sanitizer,

and implement comprehensive testing.

Paydar boasts the university has played a leading role in the response to the virus. IUPUI is in

charge of contact tracing in Marion County, and the School of Medicine converted two labs into

COVID testing labs. The Fairbanks School of Public Health has overseen what remains the only

statewide randomized COVID testing in the nation to track the virus’s spread. And the university

set aside one dorm to house health care workers who needed to quarantine after contact with

people infected with the virus.

1,960 IUPUI students and 458 faculty and staff have tested positive for the virus since July.