Oregon News

Oregon State University enrollment reaches a new record, eclipsing 35,000

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By Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]

Sources: Jon Boeckenstedt, vice provost of enrollment, 541-737-0759, [email protected]; Steve Clark, vice president university relations and marketing, 541-737-3808 (office), 503-502-8217 (cell), [email protected]

This news release is available online: https://beav.es/5YL

Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmX9mek4 (Corvallis campus) and https://flic.kr/p/2nYmJvh (OSU-Cascades)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s fall 2022 enrollment has again reached a record, topping 35,000, driven by a continuing rise in enrollment among students of color, a record class of first-year students, soaring enrollment from out-of-state students and demand for the university’s online education program.

With 35,239 students enrolled, up 1,131 students, or 3.3% over last year, Oregon State is the largest university in the state for the ninth consecutive year.

The enrollment includes students learning at OSU locations in Corvallis, Bend, Portland, Newport, La Grande and through the university’s nationally ranked online Ecampus program. (For the remainder of this news release, enrollment numbers specified as Oregon State include all these locations except OSU-Cascades. Numbers from OSU-Cascades are broken out separately in the news release.)

“Oregon State University is committed to be the most accessible and highest quality university possible,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy. “Record enrollments among students of color and first-year students and increasing numbers of non-resident students are evidence that Oregon State is increasingly seen as a destination for an inclusive and excellent education and a gateway to success in graduate school, life and career after graduation.”

Oregon State is increasingly a destination of choice for higher education with students this fall from all 50 states and 107 countries. Oregon State continues to be a school of choice among Oregon residents with 17,610 students enrolled from all of Oregon’s 36 counties. Oregonians make up almost 69% of Oregon State’s Corvallis degree-seeking undergraduate enrollment and nearly 79% of degree-seeking undergraduates at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

“I am proud that as Oregon’s statewide university, OSU admitted every qualified Oregon student who applied for admission,” Murthy said.

Oregon State’s enrollment counters national trends of declines at many U.S. colleges and universities. National undergraduate and graduate student enrollments combined declined by 1.1% this year, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. This follows a 2.1% drop last year and a 3.4% decline the year before. Enrollment has also decreased in recent years at most public universities in Oregon, according to the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

Ecampus continues to be the main contributor to Oregon State’s enrollment growth. Enrollment of students attending Ecampus jumped almost 6% to 10,679 students this fall. At OSU-Cascades, enrollment increased almost 2% to 1,271 students this fall. In Corvallis, there are 23,598 students enrolled this fall, a 1% increase over last year.

Ginnie Ramirez Sandoval is one of those students. She grew up in La Pine but has been living in Monroe for the last 11 years. Ten years ago, she was entering her junior year at Oregon State when her mother unexpectedly passed away, and she stepped away from pursuing her degree. Instead, she pursued a career in finance. But during the pandemic her job became extremely stressful.

“It was a real awakening because I realized I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. It was then that I decided I wanted to finish my degree,” she said. “So far it’s been amazing. Since I’m a mom, I started in the spring with a couple of online classes but this term is my first term back on campus full-time. My husband has been really supportive, and the university offers free day care.”

She said she was worried about starting college again at age 31, but she is now recognizing how many amenities OSU offers, like swimming at Dixon and wellness coaching. After graduation she hopes to teach high school English.

First-year students at Oregon State increased 8.3% from last fall, jumping from 6,600 students to 7,146. That includes an 11.5% increase in first-time students from high school and a 2% increase in new transfer students. First-time students from high school increased 9.7% on the Corvallis campus, 16.6% at OSU-Cascades and 61.8% at Ecampus.

Enrollment of first-year students from outside Oregon increased dramatically: California students increased 16% (66% since 2019), Washington students increased 44% (123% since 2019) and Colorado students increased 35% (418% since 2019).

Fall enrollment at Oregon State includes 10,030 students of color, an increase of 649 students, or 6.9%, over last year. Students of color now make up more than 29% of OSU’s overall enrollment. At OSU-Cascades, there are now 268 students of color enrolled, or 21% of the student body, an increase of more than 6% over last year.

Domestic non-Oregon resident students attending OSU reached 14,374 this fall, a 10.1% increase over a year ago and a nearly 120% increase in the past decade. California ranks first in sending 4,091 students to OSU. Washington (2,149), Texas (636), Colorado (557) and Hawaii (470) round out the top five states from which OSU’s Corvallis campus and Ecampus draw students. At OSU-Cascades, 266 domestic non-Oregon students are enrolled with California, Washington and Colorado sending the most students to the campus.

Freshman Kaitlyn Scanlon, 18, came to Corvallis from Mission Viejo, California. She was initially drawn to OSU for its environmental science and natural resources academic programs and then fell in love with the scenic Corvallis campus and its “homey” feel.

“I’ve loved experiencing the wide variety of challenges and exciting events this transition has brought on, even though naturally there’s been some tough moments here and there,” said Scanlon, who is in the Honors College. “From balancing a dining hall job with schoolwork to exploring interests in fun club events, involving myself in all that I can do here has already grown my confidence and time-management skills tremendously.”

Transfer enrollment at OSU totals 8,980, a 3.6% increase over the past year. Transfer student enrollment at Oregon State has increased by almost 3,000 students in the past 10 years.

Kaitlin Tullis of Camas, Washington, is a new junior transfer student majoring in management in the College of Business. She struggled in college when she first attended right out of high school, but after a few years, she was ready to make a pivot in her career and decided it was time to try again.

She chose to learn online through Oregon State’s Ecampus in part because she’ll be fitting in classes around a full-time job and other responsibilities. But the key factor in her decision was the range of support available to Ecampus students, from success coaching to access to library resources.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking to think about returning to school,” she said. “But it was clear from the outset how flexible the program was, how robust it was and how much support there is. I’m really enjoying it so far.”

Shyla Streeter of Portland transferred to Oregon State from Portland Community College. She is a biochemistry and molecular biology major, and hopes to become a forensic scientist when she graduates.

“I selected Oregon State for its excellent science program and facilities,” Streeter said. “So far I’ve already met a lot of new people and made good friends, even though I’ve only been here for a little over a month. The transition moving to a different city, although not too far away, has been hard as it’s the farthest I’ve ever lived from home.”

A total 5,387 graduate students are enrolled in OSU, a slight decline from last fall. Of those, 1,869, or 34.7%, are Oregon residents.

Paul Copeland, 53, is one of those graduate students. He selected OSU from a long list of institutions available through a continuing education program sponsored by his company, Waste Management, the world’s largest waste disposal firm.

He is pursuing a professional science master’s degree in environmental sciences online through Ecampus from his home in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He chose Oregon State because the university’s environmental sciences program has a strong reputation, and the university showed a personal touch that made him feel welcome and wanted.

“Carolyn Fonyo, director of my program, reached out immediately when I asked for information,” Copeland said. “We spent 15, 20 minutes talking about the program, with two follow-ups. And while it is an online program, I often get to talk to a human being rather than just ‘press one.’ Another good thing is OSU is on the West Coast so when I’m done working at my 60-hour-a-week day job, there are still a couple hours left in the day at Oregon State if I need to talk to somebody, which is big.”

At OSU-Cascades, undergraduate enrollment includes 1,040 students this fall. Graduate student enrollment totals 231, up 13.2% from last fall. There are 253 first-generation undergraduate students, or 24.3% of enrollment. For more information about enrollment at OSU Cascades: https://beav.es/5Yb.

A lifelong Central Oregonian, freshman Angel Ruvalcaba was born in Madras and grew up in Redmond. As he excelled in school his parents set college as an expectation. An in-home health care worker originally from Mexico, his mother saw firsthand the difference a bachelor’s degree could make in someone’s life.

Today, Ruvalcaba is participating in OSU-Cascades’ TRIO program as a first-generation college student and learning about opportunities and services available to him through OSU. He is also participating in OSU-Cascades’ Degree Partnership Program with Central Oregon Community College and has earned additional scholarships and grants that provided his family relief.

“My parents are proud, but they still have high expectations for me,” he said.

Oregon State’s fall 2022 enrollment also includes:

  • 1,551 veterans, an increase of 5.4% from last fall.
  • 6,796 first-generation undergraduates, or 23.5% of enrollment, an increase of 11.5% from last fall.
  • 2,338 international students, a 7.7% decrease from fall 2021.
  • 40 students taking hybrid class offerings at the OSU Portland Center.
  • 44 Oregon State students enrolled at the OSU Agriculture & Natural Resource Program at the Eastern Oregon University campus in La Grande.

Oregon State continues to attract top students. The average GPA of new students from high school is 3.64. Additionally, 545 students entered the university’s Honors College this fall, up from 487 last fall. The Honors College enrolls 5.8% of all undergraduates, or 1,665 students – a 7.5% increase over 2021.

Of OSU’s entering freshmen, four are National Merit award winners, and 48 are Presidential Scholars, Oregon State’s most prestigious scholarship award.

Engineering remains the most popular area of study at Oregon State. The College of Engineering has 10,465 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this fall. The next largest colleges are Liberal Arts, 4,805 students; Business, 4,541; Science, 4,097; Agricultural Sciences, 3,029; and Public Health and Human Sciences, 2,264.

Enrollments in other colleges and programs are College of Forestry, 1,311; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, 1,190; University Exploratory Studies, 751; College of Education, 480; Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, 337; College of Pharmacy, 314; and interdisciplinary graduate programs, 667.

The most popular undergraduate majors at Oregon State are computer science, followed by business administration, psychology, general engineering and mechanical engineering. General engineering is a program for entering undergraduates in the College of Engineering who will later select a specific engineering major.

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