CORVALLIS, Ore. - More than 1,700 students, family members and friends are expected tomorrow for Beaver Open House, Oregon State University's largest annual enrollment event for prospective students.

The total represents an increase of about 250 over last year's attendance - a spike that university leaders attribute to heightened awareness of the quality of OSU and its new financial aid program for Oregon students, Bridge to Success, as well as economic conditions that are spurring many to maximize job opportunities through increased education.

"While the vast majority of our attendees tomorrow will be from Oregon, we're gratified to see significant numbers coming from Washington, California, Idaho, Alaska and a host of other states," said OSU Admissions Director Michele Sandlin. "The number of individuals registered so far - 1,747 at last count - may grow even further, so we'll be bursting at the seams tomorrow."

OSU has pursued intentional, incremental growth historically, expanding last fall, for instance, by fewer than 400 to a total of 19,753 (final totals for this fall are not yet complete, but may exceed 20,000 for the first time in OSU history). University leaders have been careful to ensure that capacity exists to provide appropriate services and resources for all students. But they acknowledge that more students than ever are vying for admission, as OSU is designated as increasing numbers of students' first choice for their university experience.

"Oregon State is committed to meeting the challenges of our increased enrollment and will continue to provide all of our students with a world-class educational experience," said Sandlin.

Beaver Open House begins at 8:30 a.m. at LaSells Stewart Center and continues there throughout the morning. Campus tours begin at noon, and workshops with individual academic colleges and campus offices ranging from Financial Aid to University Housing get underway at 1:30.

Media are welcome to attend. For more information, call 737-4611 or visit the Beaver Open House Web site.

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Michele Sandlin,