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Oregon University System sees record enrollment of almost 97,000, student retention rates also increase significantly

Contact: Di Saunders: 503-725-5714; Cell: 971-219-6869
Source: Bob Kieran, OUS Asst. Vice Chancellor, Institutional Research and Planning: 541-346-5758

Click here for the Fall 2010 Enrollment Fact Sheet

PORTLAND, November 11, 2010 – Oregon University System (OUS) chancellor, George Pernsteiner, announced today that a record high enrollment of 96,960 students was reached for fall 2010, up from 91,580 students last year, an increase of 5.9%. This is the highest percentage increase for the System since 2001, with an additional 5,380 students at Oregon’s public universities this fall. The percentage of freshmen continuing on to their sophomore year – the retention rate – also increased to an all time high of 82.4%. Ten year growth for OUS continues to outpace national averages, increasing almost 40% or 30,000 students since 2000, compared to average national growth estimates of just under 25% at public universities.

“These significant enrollment increases show the continued high demand in the state for higher education as Oregonians seek the skills and academic background they need to succeed in their careers and contribute to their families and communities,” said Pernsteiner. “We’re especially excited about the increase in the retention rate this year, a testament to the commitment from all of the campuses to provide intense support to freshmen students to ensure that they are successful and can stay in college to graduation. Our hope is that these efforts can continue, despite the looming budget cuts, with support from the legislature and the Governor-Elect. Oregonians deserve a high quality, affordable education, and our economy cannot power out of this recession without a highly skilled and diverse workforce,” added Pernsteiner.

The entering class of 32,314 new undergraduate and graduate students represents the largest incoming class in OUS history, and marks record high enrollment for six out of the seven campuses and the branch campus in Bend. System-wide, total enrollment for fall 2010 includes 80,381 undergraduates – an increase of 6.5% or 4,938 more undergraduates than last year – and 16,579 graduate students – an increase of 2.7% or 442 more graduates students than in 2009. Across the System, the number of newly admitted undergraduates overall – both resident and nonresident – increased by 3.7%, although the number of resident first time freshmen actually decreased by 2.1% due to several factors, including the difficult economic environment facing students and families and higher attendance at community colleges. Newly admitted undergraduate transfer students in fall 2010 increased 5.6% over 2009, a reflection of the progress made in ease of transferability and curricular coordination among 2- and 4-year colleges and universities in Oregon.

“I am pleased to welcome our largest class of college students in Oregon history,” said Governor Kulongoski. “The participation of Oregonians just starting college, transferring from community colleges or continuing their education plans will help build a stronger Oregon in the years ahead. This is also a reminder that we as a state have much more to do to keep college affordable, to help these students succeed and support our colleges and universities to meet the demands of a changing economy.”

Retention of first time freshmen continuing on to sophomore year increased again this year to an all-time high of 82.4%, continuing the upswing of last year’s 81.7%, and retention of all students continued the improving trend. This is a direct result of investments made by the campuses in student support through advising, tutoring, and other outreach that ensures that students remain engaged academically and otherwise, and thus are more likely to stay in college.

Students of color increased to 18.3% of total enrollment within the OUS in fall 2010, up from 17.8% last year. International students increased by 19.9% over last year, an all time high, reaching a total of 5,733 students across the System, with undergraduates accounting for 90% of that growth.

“Enrollment increases again exceeded projections this year,” said Bob Kieran, assistant vice chancellor for Institutional Research and Planning for OUS. “Campuses’ continued diligent efforts at recruitment and retention have provided access to a larger, more diverse number of Oregonians, and reflect students’ understanding that higher education is the key to job flexibility, and financial and personal gains. The ten year growth of 30,000 students is the equivalent of adding a university even larger than PSU to the system.”

Fall 2010 represents all-time highs in overall enrollment for all campuses except Oregon Institute of Technology, although most of their decline was due to fewer high school students taking OIT courses. Southern Oregon University had the largest increase in the System, with 26.2% growth in one year, a record high for that campus and a laudable turnaround from several years of low or declining growth. Western Oregon University enrollment also increased significantly by 10.2% to 6,233 students. Oregon State University’s high growth of 8.2% represents many newly admitted students, non-resident growth, and increases in international students. OSU-Cascades campus in Bend had significant growth for the second year in a row, up 11% over 2009, and showing even higher growth in FTE (full-time equivalent) of 15.8%, representing an increase in full time students. Eastern Oregon University’s 4.5% growth was primarily in resident undergraduate transfer students, a sign of their positive collaborations with community colleges. Portland State University increased its resident enrollment and international enrollment over last year. University of Oregon increased the percentage of students attending for the first time by 3.7%, and its retention rate increased to an all time high of 88.2%.


Total OUS Fall Headcount and FTE Enrollment, 2010 Compared to 2009

(Fall 4th week)

 

Fall 2010

Fall 2009

Headcount Change

FTE Change

 

Headcount

FTE

Headcount

FTE

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Eastern Oregon University

4,137

2,838

3,957

2,647

180

4.5%

192

7.2%

Oregon Institute of Technology

3,797

2,576

3,927

2,588

-130

-3.3%

-12

-0.5%

Oregon State University – Corvallis

23,761

21,584

21,969

19,951

1,792

8.2%

1,634

8.2%

Oregon State University – Cascades

678

410

611

354

67

11.0%

56

15.8%

Portland State University

28,522

20,476

27,972

19,996

550

2.0%

480

2.4%

Southern Oregon University

6,443

4,524

5,104

3,930

1,339

26.2%

594

15.1%

University of Oregon

23,389

22,631

22,386

21,689

1,003

4.5%

943

4.3%

Western Oregon University

6,233

5,049

5,654

4,697

579

10.2%

352

7.5%

Total

96,960

80,090

91,580

75,851

5,380

5.9%

4,239

5.6%

Source:  OUS Institutional Research Services, Report ERTE-01 and ERCH-01, 11/10

 


 

Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services, and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu.

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