FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Colleges faced declining enrollment during the pandemic and now they’re working to get students back on college campuses.

“They are happy to be back to face-to-face talking with those colleges because there is just something about talking one on one with a college and a student and getting them so excited about attending that university,” explained Jennifer Quinn, event coordinator with the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools.

The Fresno area college night coordinated by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools is one of the largest outreach events for college-bound students. For the last two years, it has been a virtual affair and attendance dropped off.

“This event kind of reinvigorates the whole meaning of being in college and going to college and definitely allowing our students to know and engage with us in a way that they really didn’t online,” said Nikolas Lucio, director of outreach for Fresno City College.

Over 100 colleges were represented here and they are going all out to get students back on campuses. Undergraduate enrollment nationwide is down almost 10%

“We are all excited to be here. This is very important for us to share what Fresno State has to offer students,” said Rick Chacon with Fresno State’s admissions and recruitment team.

There is one group of colleges that is attracting a lot of attention….enrollment at HBCUs, historically Black colleges and universities, is on the rise.

For example, Howard University saw a 28% increase over the last two years.

“The HBCUs come in and offer lots of opportunities for students to gain scholarships even if they have a 2.9, 3.0, 3.2 or it’s a sliding scale for scholarships which are not offered at our California schools,” Ronda Turney, the CEO of 22 Ways.

16-year-old Shyla Adams, a student at Justin Garza High School, and her mom attended the financial aid workshop, and cost among other things influenced her choice.

“My main thing is to go to a HBCU, so I know the prices are way more cheaper than staying in California so I’ve looked at the price ranges and the main thing it’s about $25,000 for each semester,” said Adams.

Educators say they are excited that students are once again planning their futures. Many colleges will continue their outreach even after college night.

“And really going out to the high schools and meeting students where they are to get them to come onto our campus and let them know about our programs and what we have to offer here.”