CORVALLIS, Ore. - Underscoring recent public discussions regarding possible Oregon State University enrollment growth over the next 15 years, OSU this fall has enrolled nearly 22,000 students - its largest student body ever, with major growth among graduate and other high-achieving students, students of color and out-of-state students at all levels.
The official total enrollment of 21,969 represents an overall increase of 8.1 percent over last year's 20,320. Enrollment for OSU-Cascades in Bend shot up by nearly 20 percent to 611, up from 510 last year. The university has now grown by more than 6,000 students over the past decade -- a trend that OSU President Ed Ray has said may continue for some time.
"This should not be mistaken as growth for growth's sake," said Ray. "The academic quality of our student body grows stronger with each successive year. Add to that this fall's largest-ever enrollment of doctoral students and our significant growth in scientific research, which attracts outstanding graduate and undergraduate students, and it's easy to see that ours is a university that is making tremendous academic progress. To be competitive in a global economy, Oregon must provide a college education for more of its high school graduates, and Oregon State University must contribute to that effort. "
While some growth is attributable to the national and state economic downturns that have caused many individuals to seek additional education, OSU leaders point to enrollment increases across student demographics that is much more intentional. As Ray notes, for instance, doctoral student enrollment of 1,150 set another institutional record, as did professional student enrollment (574), while the number of masters students (1,567) reached its highest level in five years. All told, a record 3,902 graduate students are enrolled at OSU this fall.
Undergraduate numbers showed even larger gains. Non-resident domestic student enrollment shot up by 24.1 percent to 5,299. International student enrollment grew by 13.4 percent to 1,120, buoyed in part by the first students arriving as part of OSU's joint venture with the British firm INTO University Partnerships.
Domestic students of color grew significantly too, from 3,207 to 3,542 - a hike of 10.4 percent, continuing a decade-long trend. Asian/Pacific Islander enrollment experienced the largest spike, from 1,719 last fall to 1,905 this year, a 10.8-percent increase. But the number of Latino students also grew significantly, from 911 to 1,024 (12.4 percent), while the greatest percentage of growth occurred among Native American students, whose numbers expanded by 14.1 percent (from 256 to 292).
While increasing enrollment, OSU is also doing more than ever to help students attend, especially Oregon students. New Oregon resident undergraduates increased by 336 this fall to a total of 3,973, for instance, a jump that OSU leaders attribute in part to a 20 percent increase in financial aid applications. Most of that increase is a result of the Bridge to Success Program, which packages financial aid awards to Oregon students, allowing them to attend the university free of tuition and fee charges.
"Our planning efforts have enabled us to reach our enrollment targets in most areas, meaning that we are growing mindfully in ways that allow us to provide the support and services that students need to succeed while allowing for growth that is healthy for the university, as well," said Kate Peterson, assistant provost for enrollment management. "So while we feel good about what this means for OSU, we feel even better about the university experience it makes possible for our students."
Complete statistical detail on this fall's OSU enrollment is available via the Institutional Research Web site.
Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.
Kate Peterson, 541-737-0759