TWU provides life and career preparedness, receives record-breaking fall enrolment

“While we are pleased with the strong results, we are most thankful for the opportunity to continue to advance the mission of the university and to serve students as they grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
— Brian Kerr, SVP of Enrolment, Personal and Professional Development

As Trinity Western seeks to help people become both life-ready and career-ready, fall 2020 enrolment is up 6.7% over last year.

TWU has received the highest fall enrolment in its 58-year history, final numbers revealed. Its enrolment far exceeds COVID-era expectations.

“Overall university enrolment is up 6.7% over last year, representing the highest enrolment in the history of Trinity Western University,” says Brian Kerr, Senior Vice President of Enrolment, Personal and Professional Development, whose department helps people become both life-ready and career-ready. 

Total enrolment at TWU this fall is 4,774 students, up from 4,476 last fall.

“While we are pleased with the strong results, we are most thankful for the opportunity to continue to advance the mission of the university and to serve students as they grow in their knowledge of Jesus Christ,” said Kerr.

How a university pivoted in 120 days

Kerr reveals that this accomplishment is the product of a significant concerted effort across all areas of campus. The efforts began in early spring. As the effects of the pandemic first began to ripple across the higher education sector, Trinity Western moved quickly to adapt.

“As it became evident that COVID-19 would have a profound impact on our ability to move forward with a model that had served us so well for almost 60 years—we re-invented our modes and methods of delivery for courses, student life and student services within 120 days,” said Kerr, speaking of the strategic and operational changes within the University. 

Numbers indicate enrolment trends

The desirableness of a liberal arts education with a personal development focus is evident in the growing numbers of students who chose to attend TWU this fall, through online and mixed-modal formats.

Four-year bachelor programs

Within traditional four-year undergraduate programs, from 2019 to 2020, the enrolment headcount increased from 2,285 to 2,312 (+1.1%). The full-time equivalency, an industry measurement based on a full-time undergraduate student course load of 15 credit hours a semester, dropped only slightly from1,986 to 1,957 (-1.5%).

Flexible bachelor programs

Within non-traditional or flexible undergraduate programs—including certificates  and degree completion programs (also called TWU GLOBAL)—the enrolment headcount increased from 1,008 to 1,069 (+6%). The full-time equivalency increased significantly, from 647 to 844 (+30.5%).

Graduate programs

Among graduate programs, the headcount grew from 755 to 1,022 (+35.4%), while the full-time equivalency jumped from 401 to 835—a notable growth of 108%.

Overall comparison

When comparing the total enrolment for all of Trinity Western’s programs, last year versus this year, the overall headcount grew from 4,476 to 4,774 (+6.7%), and the full-time equivalency grew from 3,238 to 3,627 (+12%).

“Essential components to success were the commitment and resilience of the student body, the dedication and adaptability of staff and faculty, and the ongoing support, prayers and encouragement of alumni and friends of TWU,” said Kerr. 

Cross-functional teams expand TWU’s educational experience

Under the leadership of President Mark Husbands, and using a team-of-teams concept, TWU developed interdepartmental task force groups with various expertise.

In May 2020, with less than 120 days to achieve their aim, twelve COVID-19 task force groups joined efforts to pursue one shared mission: preparing the TWU to welcome a significant cohort of students this fall.

From the moment of creation, these teams worked rapidly and with great intensity, to meet their goals in time for the first day of classes in early September.

Among their greatest achievements is the development of a new, holistic model of educational delivery that is fit for the current context, called TWU ACCESS.

“Throughout the summer, task forces worked tirelessly to develop TWU ACCESS, to ensure that the mission of TWU continues to thrive,” said Kerr. 

TWU ACCESS ensures that students receive both high-quality academic instruction and close community support from peer leaders, staff and faculty. Structured upon grouping students together for connection and mentorship, TWU ACCESS makes services and community groups accessible in multiple formats (in-person, online, or a hybrid of both). Every effort is made to support students’ overall success and to foster their academic, relational and personal growth.

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has five campuses and locations: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, Ottawa, and Bellingham, WA. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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