FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Despite the coronavirus pandemic and a struggling econony, the number of freshmen enrolled at public universities in Kentucky appears to have remained steady, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education said.

Initial estimates released this week indicate that 18,373 freshmen enrolled at public, four-year universities this fall, the council said in a statement. That's down by only 44 students from the previous year. Half of Kentucky's eight public universities saw an increase in freshman in August.

The numbers are welcome, as Kentucky campuses were bracing for larger declines among freshmen as courses moved online and activities were reduced or halted, the statement said.

“Colleges have pushed hard to adapt quickly and still provide a rich environment for students,” said council President Aaron Thompson. “Higher education matters most in times like these, and I’m gratified that demand remains strong among our incoming class.”