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Oregon University System Fall Enrollment Makes Major Gains

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

Record system and freshmen enrollment reached, highest percentage increase since 2002

For a fact sheet providing additional data, go to “Enrollment Watch” on the OUS website homepage here.

PORTLAND, November 13, 2008 – The Oregon University System (OUS) announced today that a record high enrollment of 86,546 students was reached for fall 2008, an increase of 5.2% over last year. This is the highest percentage increase for the System since 2002, with an additional 4,300 students at Oregon’s public universities this fall. This increase represents the largest entering freshman class in OUS history, and marks record high enrollment for six out of the seven campuses, with the seven campuses’ and branch campus increasing enrollment between 2.6% and 6.8%.

“These levels of enrollment increases are significant for the state and can be directly attributed to the investments made in higher education by the Governor and the Legislature last year,” said George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the OUS. “The signal of opportunity provided by the 2007-09 funding increases to our public universities and to the Oregon Opportunity Grant (OOG) gave hope to Oregon’s students and families that they could achieve their dreams of an affordable college education,” said Pernsteiner. The numbers of OUS students who received an OOG in fall 2008 increased by almost 6,960 to over 15,430, and annual award amounts went from $13.4 million in 2007 to $33.8 million for OUS students in 2008. “Whenever higher education is a funding priority in Oregon, we see parallel enrollment increases, which produce significant increases in degrees and skilled graduates to fill workforce needs and fuel Oregon’s economy,” added Pernsteiner. “Our gratitude goes out to Governor Kulongoski, the Legislature, and the Board of Higher Education for investing in Oregon’s future and our most powerful state resource, our people.”

Systemwide total enrollment for fall 2008 includes 71,022 undergraduates – an increase of 5.4% or 3,619 more undergraduates over last year – and 15,524 graduate students – an increase of 4.6% or 678 more graduates students than seen in 2007. Across the System, the number of newly admitted undergraduates overall – both resident and nonresident – increased by 8.2% (compared to 4.0% last year). Enrollment of Oregon newly admitted resident undergraduates totaled 13,575 for fall 2008, a significant increase of 680 students or 5.3% over fall 2007 when the resident freshmen increased by only 0.2% over 2006. Non-resident newly admitted undergraduates increased this fall by 16.3% to 5,381 students, about the same increase as seen in fall 2007. Newly admitted undergraduate transfer students in fall 2008 increased by 606 students over the prior year, or 8.9%, a significant increase over the 0.8% increase in these students seen in 2007.

Governor Kulongoski said, “We are very pleased that the investments made last year have paid off with such dramatic increases in Oregonians entering higher education. Our strategies are working: we’ve increased college affordability, helped students move more easily from community colleges into universities, and ensured that students have support and resources to help them complete college and earn a degree. It is gratifying that students are responding as they are to the promise of opportunity. We – and they – will reap the benefits of their efforts for decades to come.”

Students of color increased within the OUS in fall 2008 by 1,007 students to 12,860 students: African-American students increased by 7.5%; American Indian/Alaska Native students increased by 5.0%; Hispanic/Latino students increased by 13.2%; and Asian/Pacific Islander students increased by 6.5%. White students increased by 4.1%. International students increased by 8.9% in fall 2008 over last year, to a total of 4,410 students across the System.

“Enrollment increases on each of the campuses this fall is impressive,” said Bob Kieran, assistant vice chancellor for Institutional Research and Planning. “It is likely a combined result of recent state investments in the OUS, increases in state need-based aid for low- and moderate-income Oregonians, and with some attribution to the slow economy when we typically see more Oregonians returning to college to re-tool.” Long-term enrollment trends show a 5-year increase of 8.8% in OUS enrollment, and 10-year increase of 33.2%. “Ten year enrollment increases for OUS have trended higher than the national average for 4-year universities by about double,” said Kieran, “showing that there continues to be a great demand in this state for the types of degrees and training that bring higher earnings, more job flexibility, and greater employment opportunities in general. We have added the equivalent of a major university in those ten years, over 21,000 students.”

Fall 2008 represents all-time highs in overall enrollment for all campuses except Southern Oregon University, although SOU had an impressive increase this fall of 5.1% over 2007, signaling a solid turnaround for the campus. Eastern Oregon University saw the largest percentage increase in enrollment of any campus at 6.8% over last year, with Portland State University having the largest numerical increase of 1,588 students more than in fall 2007. University of Oregon had the largest numerical increase in newly admitted undergraduates (resident and non-resident) of 673 (total 4,260); Oregon State University had the largest number of newly admitted resident undergraduates at 3,535 total; and Oregon Institute of Technology had the largest percentage increase in newly admitted resident freshmen, up 19% this fall over last year. Western Oregon University continued their increase in international students with 62 more this fall than last, and a three year growth of 246 students.

Fall 2008 Headcount Enrollment 4th Week Totals
Oregon University System

Institution Fall 2008 Fall 2007 # Change Fall ’07 to Fall ‘08 % Change Fall ’07 to Fall ‘08
Eastern Oregon University 3,666 3,433 233 6.8%
Oregon Institute of Technology 3,525 3,318 207 6.2%
Oregon State University - Corvallis 20,320 19,753 567 2.9%
Oregon State University - Cascades 510 497 13 2.6%
Portland State University 26,587 24,999 1,588 6.4%
Southern Oregon University 5,082 4,836 246 5.1%
University of Oregon 21,507 20,376 1,131 5.6%
Western Oregon University 5,349 5,037 312 6.2%
OUS System Total 86,546 82,249 4,297 5.2%
Undergraduates 71,022 67,403 3,619 5.4%
(includes Professional*)
15,524 14,846 678 4.6%
* Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy and Law
Source: OUS Institutional Research Services


Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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